Ezgi Avci, a Florida Tech junior and volleyball student-athlete, finished in the top 16 in the annual Miss Earth Pageant. The event was held in the Versailles Alabang in Las Piñas in Manila, Philippines.

The Istanbul, Turkey native was one of 88 finalists competing in the live annual event and finished in the top 16 after finishing third in the Miss Turkey Pageant.

The Miss Earth Beauty Pageant’s purpose is to have candidates and winners actively promote and get involved in the preservation of the environment and the protection of mother Earth. Apart from a strong emphasis on environmental protection programs, Miss Earth also aims to showcase and promote various tourist destinations.

“Getting a crown at Miss Turkey and being in the top 16 at Miss Earth are honorable for me and I’m so glad to have the opportunity to represent my country abroad,” Ezgi said.

Every year, 80 to 90 candidates from all over the world compete on beauty and knowledge of environmental issues.

“I believe we should invest more time into the purification of water to not only help ourselves and those who are in need, but also to maintain the environment and protect the creatures that we share this wonderful resource with.”

Ezgi is studying Business Administration and is a member of the volleyball team. “I love to study at Florida Tech because of its education system and its staff. They were all very supportive when I was leaving for the pageant,” she said. ”I also love to be on the volleyball team; we are like a family.”