Miss Illinois weeks away from giving up her crown

She took the spotlight when she walked the stage as Miss Quincy back last year, and made national headlines when she was crowned Miss Illinois.

Nearly a year later, Megan Ervin is preparing to give up her title to the next Miss Illinois, but first, she's looking back on what a life changing experience her pageant days have meant to her.

From singing the national anthem at the Cubs game and being on stage with Jennifer Hudson to promoting her Heptathlon of Healthy Habits platform, it's been a very busy year.

As for her future, Ervin says the month of July will bring some new adventures and, hopefully, a bit of relaxation.

"I'm trying to keep my options open. There's a lot of avenues that have opened up from this opportunity above and beyond what I ever really imagined what would be my next steps. So, I'm moving to Chicago in July. I've locked down an apartment for myself, spreading my wings and utilizing my strengths I've gained over the last year. I'm interested in a lot of different areas. My degree is in exercise science. I may or may not use that at first, but whatever I choose, I'm sure it'll be something I love doing," Ervin said.

While she makes her way across the state for the last time as Miss Illinois, Ervin is also taking part in the training process for her successor.

"I've been around all the contestants that will be vying for my title in June. I actually got to lead a lot of discussion at our Spring Forum, which is seminar we lead for contestants in May in Springfield. We have some very strong contestants this year. It's going to be a rough time for the judges because it's going to be a very tough and close race at the end," Ervin said.

Ervin will give up her crown on Saturday, June 29.