Taley Strickland has served as ambassador since her freshman year at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Last week, the senior Mass Communication major from Pembroke accepted a more visible role on campus when she was crowned Miss UNCP 2018.
Strickland said she was elated when her name was announced in front of more than 1,100 people at Givens Performing Arts Center on February 1.
“I was really nervous but when they finally announced the winner it was very humbling,” Strickland said. “I am really excited to serve as the new Miss UNCP. This is something that I have been working so hard toward.
“I feel like I have been representing UNCP with my involvement on campus for the past three years, however, I am excited to take on a more official role.”
During the talent portion of the pageant, Strickland performed a soulful rendition of Haley Reinhart’s version of House of the Rising Sun.
She received a $2,000 scholarship, free student housing and a meal plan for one year. She also took home the Bessie Barnes Overcoming the Odds Scholarship.
Bryana Carrington was first runner-up. Jamelynn Johnson was second runner-up. Jasmine Carrion won Miss Congeniality. Chenoa Emanuel took home both the Kelsey Cummings Spirit Award and the Community Choice Award.
The other contestants were Sadira Baccus and Njeri Bracy. They were judged in four rounds, including casual wear, talent, evening wear and an on-stage question.
Strickland’s passion for UNCP is evident in the hours she spends volunteering and serving as an ambassador with the Office for Community & Civic Engagement. She is president of Hok Nosai Native American Greek Life Council and active with Alpha Phi Omega Sorority.
She is the daughter of Gary and Hope Strickland of Pembroke.
As an intern with Undergraduate Admissions she speaks to freshman seminar classes and takes part in recruiting visits to the local high schools.
“I talk to the freshmen here about how to get involved on campus. It is also important for me to make a connection with high school students before they come to campus.”
Her internship and service work ties into her platform which focuses on increasing UNCP’s retention rate.
“We must get students engaged on campus,” she said. “Once they find their home here, it is likely they will stay and thrive. I look forward to making new connections, creating relationships across campus and encouraging others to get involved. I believe my involvement here at UNCP has helped me become more diverse and it has helped cultivate me into the woman I am today.”