An opportunity to earn scholarship money for college is what initially led Linfield sophomore Allison Burke to compete in the Miss America pageant. On Saturday, June 28, in Seaside, she will compete against young women from across Oregon for the title of Miss Oregon. Her experience, though, has made the decision much more rewarding.
“I first participated earlier this year when I was encouraged by a local pageant director to compete in a preliminary,” Burke said. She ended up winning the title of Miss Portland 2014, awards for top interview and talent, and multiple scholarships.
“Through volunteering as a titleholder, I have become informed of the needs of our state and contributed my time and energy to organizations like Hunger Free Oregon, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and SMART (Start Making a Reader Today) to improve the lives of citizens, especially students, through advocating and volunteering.”
Burke is no stranger to volunteering and encouraging others to do the same. A 2013 graduate of Tigard High School, she received recognition as the Chamber of Commerce “Student Volunteer of the Year.” At Linfield, she is involved with the Alpha Phi sorority in community service activities and will serve as the sorority’s director of community service next year. Burke is also involved in residence life activities and will be the Resident Advisor for Grover Hall. These kinds of opportunities are one of the things that drew her to Linfield College.
“I wanted a small liberal arts college so that the experience would be personal and engaging. And Linfield has a phenomenal nursing program as well as great extracurricular activities to participate in,” Burke said. “When I stayed overnight, it felt like the students were genuinely happy and there was a sincere sense of community, which I loved.”
The Miss America organization is the largest provider in the world of scholarships for women. In addition to the financial assistance, Burke also appreciates the personal growth she has experienced through her participation.
“Overall, I have also become more organized, self-motivated and deeply immersed in both enhancing my personal communication skills and violin performance,” Burke said.
Burke plans to pursue a career as a pediatric nurse at a local hospital following the completion of her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Linfield.