Troy University alumna Lauren Molella has been crowned Miss New York 2019, becoming the first person to have won the title of both Miss New York’s Outstanding Teen (2011) and the state title in the Miss America preliminary.
The 24-year old native New Yorker, who graduated with a double major in biology pre-med and psychology (with minors in dance and the honor’s program) in 2016, has gone on to earn her masters in applied psychology at Sacred Heart University and teaches in the physics, biology and psychology departments at Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, New York.
“TROY gave me the opportunity to learn about the South, foster my philanthropic side and make friendships I still cherish today,” she said. “It advanced my path in STEM fields and gave me the chance to continue my passion for dance.”
The notoriety of wearing the crown hasn’t impacted her classroom desires, either.
“I plan to continue my work (as a teacher) during my year as Miss New York,” she said.
That could be a tall order, as Miss America preparations get under way and the duties of a “state miss” come to the forefront, but the TROY Dance Repertory Ensemble member and Phi Mu sister said that’s where a part of her Trojan experience comes into play.
“Being a Troy Trojan helped me learn about who I was and who I wanted to become. TROY was a wonderful place to grow as an individual and learn to be a warrior for what you found to be important in the world,” she said.
“Both on and off the pageant stage, I am confident in what I believe, the change I want to create and inspire, and the networks of talented, smart, intellectuals TROY provided me the opportunity to meet,” Molella added.
The Miss America Organization is a good place to launch some of that change. Her “social impact” focuses on the implementation of a statewide suicide prevention initiative aimed at veterans and active military members, and targeting communities where risk factors such as post-traumatic stress syndrome are rampant. “Voices of Honor – Salute and Support” also seeks to highlight military women, and utilize social media and her public appearances to bring the people of New York to the forefront “in helping our heroes.”
“(Miss America) has given me a multitude of skills such as confidence, poise, public speaking, the ability to understand and converse with diverse populations, and it has provided me the chance to continue my education by providing me with more than $84,000 in scholarships,” she said.
“The chance to give back to the organization was a ‘no brainer’ and I am so excited to serve the people of New York and work to foster the organization,” Molella said.
As for her plans beyond her impending date with the Miss America Pageant and her reign in New York: she plans to work on her doctorate in psychology.