Alumna to compete for Miss America crown on Sunday

University of North Carolina School of the Arts alumna Nia Imani Franklin, a native of Winston-Salem, will compete in the 2019 Miss America Contest on Sunday, Sept. 9, as Miss New York.

Franklin received a master’s degree in composition from the School of Music in 2017, and was awarded a Kenan Fellowship at Lincoln Center Education. She competed in the Miss New York competition as Miss Five Burroughs, winning preliminary competitions in swimsuit and talent for her performance as a classical vocalist.

Nia Franklin

Nia Franklin will compete for the Miss America crown at 9 p.m. on Sunday.

She joins a growing list of students and alumni who have competed for scholarship money at various levels of the Miss America program. Just this year Savannah Culbreth, an undergraduate who studies voice in the School of Music, competed in the Miss North Carolina contest as Miss Durham, and Caroline Credle, a high school student who studies ballet in the School of Dance, was crowned Miss North Carolina Outstanding Teen.

Several UNCSA students and alumnae have previously competed for the Miss America crown, representing North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

Franklin is a singer, songwriter, and music composer who is an advocate for cancer research and art education opportunities for students. While at UNCSA, she was a member of ArtistCorps, an artist-driven AmeriCorps service program that places accomplished artists in public schools and community-based institutions to work with high-needs students.

During her freshman year of college, Franklin’s father was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer. She used her love and passion for music to find therapeutic ways to help herself and her family through the hardship. As a last resort, she donated stem cells and essentially saved his life.

Through her participation with the Miss America Organization, Franklin has chosen to bring awareness and raise money for lymphoma cancer research and stem donors. She also promotes the importance of art education, healing through the arts and instilling art tools and programs to enhance a child’s education.  In New York, she has collaborated with Success Academy Charters Schools and as a cultural partner with Sing for Hope to reach as many students and communities as possible.

She completed her undergraduate degree in music composition at East Carolina University.

The Miss America Contest will be broadcast live on ABC beginning at 9 p.m. 

by Lauren Whitaker

September 04, 2018