Miss Louisiana 2015 April Nelson says she's ready for Atlantic City. The 23-year old native of Mandeville, Nelson has spent the past two months in Monroe preparing for all facets of competition at the Miss America Pageant.
Nelson left for the competition early on the morning of August 28.
Nelson spent time preparing for the interview portion of Miss America in "mock" interviews, including one comprised of ULM faculty and staff.
The ULM interview sessions were chaired by Laura Jennings, director of student life and leadership. Panelists included Lisa Miller, associate vice president for marketing, recruitment and community engagement; Dr. Derle Long, director of the School of Visual and Performing Arts; Dr. Mara Loeb, associate professor of communication; Dr. Joshua Stockley, associate professor of political science; Jay Curtis, director of broadcasting, Lila Strode, KEDM development director, and Michael Roboski, coordinator of student activities.
Competing with a platform called I.O.U., or Improving Others through You, through volunteering, Nelson talks about the double value of volunteerism. "Volunteering obviously helps the receiver, but the things that you get out of volunteering are almost exponentially more impactful. Every time I leave an event, I walk away a better person than I was."
Preparations for Miss America include Nelson's work with Dr. Claire Vangelisti, associate professor of music. Nelson will perform "Climb Every Mountain" from The Sound of Music. "It's incredible to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music on the Miss America Stage."
As a performer herself, Nelson says she was so impressed with northeast Louisiana's investment in the arts. "I was so amazed that even for a much smaller area than my home of greater New Orleans, Monroe such a focus on nurturing talent and growing the capacity of performers."
Nelson will spend two weeks in appearances and competition for the Miss America Crown. The finals are broadcast on September 13 at 8 p.m. on ABC.