Scientist, Alexander City native and pageant queen Lorin Holcombe returns to Lake magazine’s swimsuit and lifestyle issue after six years of study in both biology and biotechnology. Holcombe, who graduated Benjamin Russell High School in 2013, appeared in the 2013 swimsuit and lifestyle issue of Lake when she won the Miss Alabama Teen USA competition.

While serving her state and traveling during the year she held the title, she began biology studies at Auburn University; then, she earned her master’s degree in biotechnology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She spent a year gaining experience in orthopedic surgical sales before moving to Greenville, South Carolina, for further studies at the Arrhythmia Technology Institute. This month, Holcombe moves back to Birmingham to work as a 3D mapper for a cardiac electrophysiology company.

“I will work with a mapping system to create a three-dimensional voltage map of a person’s heart during an ablation procedure to help the doctor find the best place to burn intracardiac tissue causing a termination of the arrhythmia we are trying to treat,” Holcombe explained. “I am looking for where the abnormal electrical pulse is coming from.”

Holcombe’s work will help to cure atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia and Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome, among others.

“I’m a scientist, but I’m also a people person. I didn’t want to be stuck in a lab, so I thought the medical device area would be a great fit because of the interpersonal relationships in it, and how it allows me to be part of the clinical care of the patient,” Holcombe said. “I just love physiology, and I wanted to work in an area that had more to do with anatomy and physiology, but I also wanted to do something technical.”

While her work is very technical, it’s also very stressful, Holcombe said, so she unwinds with pageants in the Miss USA system.

“Growing up in Alexander City, I competed in the Miss Outlook pageant. When I was a senior in high school, some friends encouraged me to compete in Miss Alabama Teen USA. It became almost like a bucket list thing. I focused on doing the very best I could at something I was unfamiliar with. It was one of the first times in my life that I wanted to see something through, no matter how tough it was or how scared I was,” she said.

That meant getting in shape because the Miss USA system includes swimsuit and interview components.

“You have to work really hard to be in shape, even if you’re super busy and it’s hard to go to the gym. You have to make healthy choices. And exercise is great for mental health. I’ve been taking exams and doing hospital work for 12-plus hours a day, but if I get some fitness in there, I find I am more productive and have a clearer mind and sharper memory.”

Pageants helped Holcombe to develop self-confidence and presentation skills.

“When I entered the Miss Alabama Teen USA competition, I had to learn how to walk the pageant runway and do my hair and makeup for the stage myself. At that point in time, I was just focused on that one competition. I didn’t plan on doing another, but by the grace of our Heavenly Father, I was able to win that pageant.”

Serving her state for a year as Miss Alabama Teen USA was an amazing experience, Holcombe said, but winning opened her mind to more opportunities and possibilities. Since winning the Miss Alabama Teen USA title in 2013, Holcombe also was named third runner-up in the 2018 Miss Alabama USA competition, was first runner-up in Miss Georgia USA 2019 and was named in the Top Ten at the Miss Alabama USA 2020 competition. 

“When you work that hard and your dream comes true, you realize that you can do other things. You find yourself reaching for other goals because you now believe that it is possible,” she said. “Prior to that first pageant, I would sit on the sidelines. I was afraid to fail, to not be the best at something. I think it held me back from experiences. You have to say yes to some big and scary opportunities for any of those possibilities to happen.”

For Holcombe, those opportunities included joining a very diverse master’s program and taking a job that will include traveling the world and making a difference in people’s lives.