Missouri’s first Miss USA says her experiences in beauty pageants has changed her forever. Miss USA 2004, Shandi Finnessey, doesn’t get to come home very often anymore.Finnessey lives in New York City now. Finnessey has both a bachelors and a masters degree in counseling from Lindenwood Unviersity in St. Charles and hopes to earn a PhD, but that will have to wait. She now travels both here and abroad, speaking to various groups, supporting a number of charities. Finnessey was the runner-up in the Miss Universe Pageant this year. She says she heard a lot of negative talk about America from the various contestants and worked hard to show them a positive image. Finnessey earned a $45,000 scholarship to the School of Film and Television in New York upon winning the Miss USA Pageant. She has published a children’s book and says she would like to write more and perhaps combine her counseling and broadcasting education as a career. She is a veteran of pageants, winning Miss Missouri in 2002, earning $7,000 in scholarships as a non-finalist in the Miss America pageant that year.