Mount Mercy senior crowned Miss Iowa, will run for Miss America

Mariah Cary, Miss IowaMount Mercy University senior Mariah Cary, a public relations major from Burlington, Iowa, was crowned the winner of the Miss Iowa Scholarship Pageant on Saturday, June 9, at the Adler Theatre in downtown Davenport, beating out 11 other contestants. She was the reigning Miss Muscatine at the time of earning Miss Iowa, and now advances to the Miss America Pageant.

Cary earned top recognition in several categories, including her personal interview, evening gown, and swimsuit category. Her platform is “Tourette Syndrome: The Involuntary Companion Syndrome,” and her pageant talent is tap dancing.

“It wasn’t about winning to me, or getting my name out there,” Cary said. “It is about the impact I can make on Iowa.”

Cary travels across the state and speaks to a variety of young people on a subject she is passionate about: Tourette Syndrome. Cary was diagnosed with mild motor ticks, a form of Tourettes, when she was eight years old.

“I made a choice early in life, that I wanted to use my condition to empower other people, not just kids who have Tourettes, but anyone facing adversity of any kind,” Cary said. “I wanted to push through and help other people. We all have challenges that we face.”

"Mariah demonstrates that through hard work, focus, determination and dedication, one can achieve their goals," Lecturer of Business Anne King said. "By working closely with our students and by getting to know them on a personal level, I believe they become confident in themselves and begin to see that their dreams can become reality."

“Seeing people’s reaction has been an unexplainable feeling,” Cary says. “They are so thrilled to hear that young women are doing these things in life, changing things for the state.”

Cary has been participating in pageants since she was eight years old, when her grandfather inspired her to get involved.

“This is not a job I take lightly,” Cary says. “I want to carry on the legacy of Miss Iowa and promote the program the best I can. I have to carry that on with confidence and poise, and I believe I can.”

Cary credits Mount Mercy’s public relations classes for helping her develop solid communication and interviewing skills – critical during personal interviews with the judges.

“Overnight I became a public speaker,” Cary said. “Everything that comes out of my mouth is representing Iowa. Mount Mercy’s courses really taught me how to be personal and communicate in so many different ways."  

The Miss America Pageant will be held January 2013 and broadcasted on the ABC television network. If Cary is crowned Miss America, she will become the first Miss Iowa to win the national title.

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