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Inspiring confidence

How Alyssa Lilly's Marshall journey leads her to help others
Alyssa Lilly, Miss West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals
For Alyssa Lilly, a dedicated student at Marshall, the university has become more than just a place of learning — it’s a home where dreams are cultivated.

Lilly’s journey extends beyond the campus grounds into the heart of West Virginia’s fairs and festivals. With a rich background in participating in local pageantry, Lilly’s involvement spans prestigious titles such as Miss Appalachian Festival, Miss Bridge Day, and WV Oil & Gas Festival Queen. These experiences led her to the state competition held in Charleston, West Virginia, where she competed with over 80 other representatives vying for the prestigious title of Miss West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals. She emerged victorious this past January, capturing the title of 2024 Miss West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals.

Alyssa Lilly as WV Association of Fairs and Festivals QueenAs Lilly embarks on her journey as Miss West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals, she reflects on the profound impact of her experiences at Marshall University.

“Marshall has provided me with numerous leadership positions that have improved my confidence and public speaking abilities,” she says.

Lilly’s involvement reflects her deep connection to the state’s culture and community.

“The sense of community within our state is what makes West Virginia’s fairs and festivals so unique,” she emphasizes.

Through her reign, she hopes to promote literacy and the importance of speech and language skills, touching the lives of children across the state.

Growing up in Flat Top, West Virginia, Lilly always knew she wanted to stay close to home for her college journey. Despite a family legacy at West Virginia University, she found her heart drawn to Marshall’s welcoming campus and close-knit community.

“I always had the desire to stay in the state of West Virginia to further my education,” Lilly says. “After stepping onto Marshall’s campus, I knew this was home for me.”

Alyssa Lilly with a classroom of students

Lilly’s journey at Marshall is fueled by her passion for making a difference in the lives of children. Inspired by a childhood friend’s experience with speech therapy, she chose to major in Communication Disorders.

“I knew I wanted to positively impact children within our state and make Speech Therapy something that children look forward to,” Lilly explains.

With her sights set on a career as a Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist, Lilly plans to pursue a master’s degree after graduating from Marshall. Her dream is to work within West Virginia’s school system, focusing on elementary-aged students, particularly those with autism.

“I am passionate about our non-verbal community and would love to work in a mild-moderate room with children who have autism,” she says.

At Marshall’s Communication Disorders department, Lilly finds more than just academic instruction — she discovers a supportive community dedicated to her success.

“The professors want their students to succeed. They are preparing me to provide speech and language therapy while also creating lifelong relationships.” - Alyssa Lilly

“The professors want their students to succeed,” she says. “They are preparing me to provide speech and language therapy while also creating lifelong relationships.”

Lilly’s commitment to service extends beyond the classroom. As the president of Marshall’s National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, she is dedicated to furthering her understanding of speech therapy and connecting with like-minded individuals. Additionally, her involvement with ACEing Autism on campus has allowed her to make a difference in the lives of children with autism while fostering their communication skills through tennis.

As Lilly’s journey at Marshall University continues to unfold, her story serves as a testament to the transformative power of education, service and community. Through her passion, dedication and unwavering commitment to making a difference, she embodies the spirit of Marshall — a place where dreams are nurtured and futures are shaped.