A Leavenworth journalist will take the stage in late July to compete in a national pageant.

Katie Peterson will compete in the National Princess of America Pageant July 29 through Aug. 3 in Branson, Missouri.

Peterson is a reporter for the Fort Leavenworth Lamp, a publication of the Leavenworth Times.

Peterson, 24, enters the competition with the title of Miss Southern States.

The pageant, Peterson’s first ever, will include interviews, a preliminary talent competition, an evening gown competition and the main pageant.

She will also be competing for special awards to include best interview, best interview attire, best personal introduction, best gown, best stage presence and best smile.

In addition, she will compete for VIP Awards to include such honors as Miss Personality and Princess Pick.

Peterson, whose favorite music genre is country Christian, will sing “Something in the Water” by Carrie Underwood and “He Knows My Name” by Francesca Battistelli in the talent portion of the pageant.

Peterson’s vocal and pageant coach is Jodi Rinehart Keay of Kansas City, Kansas.

Peterson will be one of about 100 young women competing in the pageant. There are five age divisions.

Peterson said her platform for the pageant is “music healing the heart and soul” to bring awareness to the VH1 Save The Music Foundation that works to build sustainable music programs in schools.

Although she has never been in a pageant, Peterson enters the competition with a performance background. She said she has been singing in church since she was a small child and also has performed at weddings, funerals and more.

Peterson studied under former University of Saint Mary music director Bill Krusemark for four years.

She said her goal is to ultimately perform country Christian music professionally in Nashville, Tennessee, as a singer/songwriter.

“There’s nothing that I would like to do more than sing,” Peterson said.

For more information or to donate money to Peterson to help defray costs, visit the Miss Southern States Princess of America Facebook page.