Student Spotlight: Vanessa Coulson is American Dream’s Miss Pennsylvania 2017

By Bri Griffith / @brigriffith / bmgriffith@live.carlow.edu

Vanessa Coulson is a first year Psychology student, active member of Carlow’s social sorority Delta Gamma Beta, SGA Senator for the College of Leadership and Social Change, and a Strong Women, Strong Girls mentor who competed in Miss Teen of America in August 2016.

Coulson’s most recent accomplishment includes becoming American Dream’s Miss Pennsylvania 2017, a title she earned by interview over the phone, as Pennsylvania didn’t hold a state pageant.


Photo courtesy of Vanessa Coulson

“Being a titleholder is basically like having a job,” said Coulson, who also said the title’s platform is “Leading by Example.” Coulson is looked at as a role model—some of her responsibilities include doing appearances, as well as volunteer work.

Coulson was a peer mentor prior to becoming a college student, and her interest in service connects with Carlow’s Mercy values. Each titleholder has their own platform, and Coulson’s is “Rising Above Your Circumstances.” Coulson tells her mentees, “No matter where you come from, it doesn’t define you.”

Coulson wants to use her title to raise awareness, and is currently looking for service-related opportunities both on and off Carlow’s campus.

Coulson’s first volunteer appearance was at the nursing home where her grandpa lives, as he’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She made Christmas cards for everyone that lives there; “I had my sorority sisters help me,” said Coulson, who hopes to make cards for them every Christmas.


Photo courtesy of Trevor Yannayon

“I’m really passionate about being a caregiver,” said Coulson, “and as a titleholder, I take my job very seriously.”

Coulson will accompany the other state titleholders to the American Dream National Pageant in Orlando, Florida this coming June.

Coulson will be a titleholder until 2018. If you’re interested in collaborating with her on a volunteer project or appearance, you can reach her at vrcoulson@live.carlow.edu.

Feature Image courtesy of Vanessa Coulson

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