2018 Miss New Mexico talks about what's next

Kristen Leyva

Las Crucen Kristen Leyva shared her experience at this year's Miss New Mexico competition.

The New Mexico State University grad said it took a minute to sink in when her name was announced.

"It's surreal when you actually win," said Leyva.

The "Aggie" Leyva says she has a megaphone to inspire younger generations to be great.

Leyva studied engineering after her mother inspired her to go into the field.

Leyva's mom worked for NASA as a mechanical engineer.

The engineer says the toughest question to answer during the competition was which chili she preferred; red or green chili.

She said she's been busy with "Just One," a mentoring program that helps motivate children to pursue an engineering career, in addition to work and being crowned Miss New Mexico.

It's unknown when Miss America will air. In the meantime, Leyva said she is already getting prepared for the big stage.

"I want to make sure I gave it my everything," said Leyva.

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