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School of Drama student crowned Miss Pennsylvania

Junior musical theatre major Amanda Fallon Smith (right) poses next to Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri (center) and Miss Maryland Jade Kenny (left). (credit: Courtesy of Amanda Smith) Junior musical theatre major Amanda Fallon Smith (right) poses next to Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri (center) and Miss Maryland Jade Kenny (left). (credit: Courtesy of Amanda Smith)

After being crowned Miss Pennsylvania 2014, junior musical theatre major Amanda Fallon Smith competed at the national Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J. last Sunday.

Although Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev, won the pageant overall, Smith won the talent portion of the preliminary competitions and has a platform of “Fitness and Nutrition: The Key to Healthy Living.”

“The Miss America pageant is something I’ve literally dreamed about since I was eight years old,” Smith told The Tartan, describing “the joy of competing and being able to walk on that stage.”

“I don’t take this opportunity for granted,” she added.

Smith won the Miss Pennsylvania pageant after participating in the competition for the first time, performing “Music of the Night” from The Phantom of the Opera.

Smith is taking a year off from studying at Carnegie Mellon to fulfill her duties as Miss Pennsylvania, which she described as traveling throughout the state to participate in community service events and various public appearances.

Smith emphasized the role of her community work, saying the job is “much more” than simply attending parades.

Smith will be traveling to schools within the state and teaching children the importance of proper nutrition, a topic which she says is often overlooked.

“It’s kind of cliché, but children are the future,” Smith said. “This is the first generation which is not expected to outlive their parents.”

“Kids are just so receptive,” she said, speaking of her work. Smith eventually wants to expand her community service-related initiatives to nutrition education for families, where she acknowledges that “the major problem with nutrition is that it’s so expensive.” She aims to help develop “healthy, affordable plans for families,” but “right now, I’m really focusing on the school system.”

Smith said that her Carnegie Mellon musical theatre training was helpful in pageant competitions and added that without it, “honestly I don’t know if I would have had the confidence.”

Smith intends to pursue a career related to her musical theatre training, either on stage in New York or on screen in Los Angeles.

After this year, Smith wishes to continue her outreach work related to nutrition, saying “to do the service I want to do, I don’t need a crown on my head.”

She spoke highly of the work of the Children’s Miracle Network, which is the competition’s national platform partner, and encouraged members of the campus community to volunteer at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh downtown. The Children’s Miracle Network is a nonprofit organization that raises money for children’s hospitals.