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By day, Spc. Kiaya Jackson is a patient administration specialist at Andrew Rader U.S. Army Health Clinic on the Fort Myer portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

By night, she’s preparing for the Ms. Veteran America 2014 contest to be held this fall in Leesburg.

“It’s something that’s bigger than yourself,” Jackson said of the event, whose purpose is to showcase the “woman behind the uniform.”

“We’re raising money for a good cause,” she said. “It’s not about beauty. It’s not about wearing a crown. It’s about the cause for me.”

The organization Jackson is supporting has assisted over 250 female veterans and children and now operates three transitional homes, including one in Alexandria.

Jackson, 25, is a native of Goldsboro, N.C. After graduating from high school, she attended Campbell University with a concentration in social work and sign language. She enlisted in the Army in 2011. After completing basic and advanced individual training, she was assigned to Rader Clinic.

Jackson had to submit a letter from her command to organizers in order to be eligible to compete in the contest. She took part in a regional competition back in April that included answering interview questions and a talent contest before being named a finalist.

“I danced,” she said with a wide smile.

Currently, Jackson is finalizing her preparations for the upcoming competition with the help of her Rader colleagues.

“This is the first place I’ve been stationed, and we’re like a family,” she said.

Jackson will be vying against 25 other military women, who represent all the service branches and all ranks, for this year’s title. The winner will receive $15,000 that can be used for her education or for her children or grandchildren’s education; student loan repayment; a full scholarship to Paul Mitchell Beauty and Cosmetology School; to start her own business; as a down payment on a home; for home repairs or to purchase a vehicle.

The event will be held Oct. 12 at National Conference Center, 18980 Upper Belmont Place, in Leesburg, Va. For more information, visit