Jill Stevens

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Jill Katherine Stevens (Shepherd) is a nurse, motivational speaker, combat medic, Army sergeant, and former Miss America pageant contestant. She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Stevens was born in 1984. She served in the Utah National Guard for eight years while earning her nursing degree at Southern Utah University. She was deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom for eighteen months during 2004 and 2005. She served with an Apache helicopter battalion and earned five medals for her outstanding service.

She is an avid marathon runner. She was the first female finisher of the inaugural Afghanistan Marathon and earned the highest fitness award during her Army basic training. In 2007, she was selected as one of four “Women of Strength” featured in Muscle and Fitness Hers Magazine. She was crowned Miss Davis County and Miss Utah in 2007 and competed in the 2008 Miss America pageant. Although she didn’t advance from the final sixteen contestants, she was designated the first-ever “America’s Choice” by viewers who voted from the Internet. She was the only contestant from the final sixteen who wore a one-piece swimsuit in the televised pageant, which was a commitment she made to herself. Stevens also surprised viewers by doing a set of push-ups before exiting the stage.

"If I could choose one person to represent females in the Army, it would be her," said 1st Lt. Jessica Melin, a recruiter with the Virginia National Guard. "She's hard-working. She's a leader in everything she does. She sets the example for others. She never backs down on her faith or her morals. If you were going to change the image of Miss America—from it being about the prettiest girl in the room or the one who models the best—to it being about a leader, standing your ground on values, you would pick Jill Stevens."[1]

Stevens wrote a book, It’s All Good, about her experiences in the military and pageants.

Stevens married Kerry Shepherd in 2009 and they are the parents of three children. She works in the emergency department at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City.