Platform: Overcoming Physical Challenges: Heart, Mind and Hands
State: South Carolina
In a whirlwind of fate and opportunity, I competed for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2009, as Miss South Carolina Teen. By the grace of God, I was blessed with a year, and subsequent lifetime, that would surpass all of my imaginings.Driven by my desire to lead, my hunger to learn and my need for education, I dedicated myself to doing my best to represent an organization that so graciously believed in this young, small-town girl. The opportunities as MAOT were endless.
Eventually, I made it my goal to create a legacy of open communication and positive mentorship, during my year, both through volunteering and speaking. As MAOT, I worked alongside multiple incredible organizations, including the Children’s Miracle network, the US Dream Academy, Give Kids the World, the Miss America Organization and many more. Each organization was passionate about providing specific solutions for every life, allowing the individuals touched to reach their own personal goals. I have always believed that each of us deserves equal opportunity to seek out and accomplish our dreams, hence the creation of my own personal platform of “Overcoming Physical Challenges: Heart, Mind and Hands.” The purpose of this initiative was to create an equal playing field for children with disabilities by changing the public’s view of disabilities and creating specific opportunities for each child.
I am continually humbled when reflecting upon the multitude of individuals who assisted me in the implementation of my own platform and the expansion of the many other organizations I partnered with. Thanks to the incredible generosity of the MAOTeen organization, I was able to attend my dream school, Wofford College, graduating in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Bachelor of Arts in English. During my time at Wofford I worked as a campus ambassador, supported my teams on the Wofford Dance Team, joined Beta Beta Beta (Biological Honor Society), Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society) and worked as a lab assistant.
I learned so many valuable skills as MAOT, namely, the importance of adaptability, communication and selfless service. These lessons continued to prompt me to seek out new adventures, like earning the Duke of Edinburg Gold Medallion, SCUBA diving the Cayman Islands, rock climbing and mountain biking along the Appalachian Trail, pursuing dual degrees and coaching the Wofford College Dance Team. More recently, I have fallen in love with an organization named the Palmetto Medical Initiative and traveled alongside them, twice, to villages in Uganda, working to bring healthcare to a hurting people. Currently, I am working as an EMT in Charleston County, building up experience and patient care hours in order to create a competitive graduate school application. It is my ultimate goal to become a P.A., working in orthopedic surgery, focusing on adults with disabilities and sports related injuries.
I am full of so much gratitude for the workings of the MAOT organization, as I believe that my experience as a competitor and title-holder prepared me, in the greatest way possible, for the type of life I wanted to lead. It is because of the scholarships, the patient guidance and the loving familial organization, that I have been able to reach so many goals and continue to pursue others!