Fifth generation Ramona resident and CSUSM communication freshman, Alexa Jones is crowned Miss California Teen USA 2012.

Jones, 18, was among more than 400 contestants competing for the prestigious title of Miss California USA and Miss California Teen USA, the largest on record for the Donald Trump organization. This summer, she will represent California in the Miss Teen USA 2012 pageant, which in years past has been held in the Bahamas.

Earning the crown, while incredibly exciting, was also bittersweet, she explained. Six weeks before the competition, her father, Mark Jones, was tragically killed in a car accident when he was ejected as a passenger from a vehicle that veered off the road.

“It’s been a difficult struggle,” she said. “Too often grief isn’t something we talk about or express openly. Through this process, I preserved and I found strength that I never knew I had. I hope that my experience encourages open dialogue and helps other teens who may be experiencing a similar loss.”

An advocate for healthy living, she actively volunteers with several charitable organizations including the American Cancer Society, Children’s Hospital, Muscular Dystrophy Association and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a cause that is especially close to her heart; her grandmother is a survivor of breast cancer.

Among the initiatives she’s spearheading during her reign is anti-cyber bullying. The movement, known as Love is Louder, draws close similarities to the University’s Civility campaign, which was launched at CSUSM with the incoming class of 2015. Thousands of students, including Jones, kicked off the campaign last summer by pledging their support at orientation to show “care, respect, and empathy” toward others.

“It’s important to take a stand against bullying,” she said. “We all play a vital part in building and cultivating an environment of inclusiveness and respect, and it is something we should all take seriously.”

Having been involved in pageants since the age of eight, Jones is accustomed to and comfortable with public speaking. It should come as no surprise then that the freshman’s favorite class has been oral communication -- a general education course that all incoming freshmen are required to take.

“I’ve always been really comfortable speaking in front of large audiences,” she said. “It fits my personality.”

After she completes her degree in communication, Jones plans to begin a career in broadcast journalism.

Among the initiatives she’s spearheading during her reign is anti-cyber bullying. The movement, known as Love is Louder, draws close similarities to the University’s Civility campaign, which was launched at CSUSM with the incoming class of 2015.