A Shining Microphone
Katie Schreckengast is not your average Penn State student. In fact, she is your 2017 Miss Pennsylvania. Katie was adopted from South Korea at six months old. Her parents Lori and randy Schreckengast moved her to Palmyra, Pennsylvania where she grew up until moving to college in 2014. Growing up Schreckengast was posed with tough questions from friends and classmates about her adoption and where she “came” from.
“Questions like, is your brother your real brother or how did you feel when your real parents abandoned you?” are some of the few questions she would receive. She soon realized that the questions she was being asked were not to be rude but realized that “they lacked in education about adoption and that their questions were being asked out of ignorance.”
Schreckengast then took it upon herself to educate those around her about adoption. She figured the perfect stepping stone to doing that was writing blog posts about being and adopted Asian American. She soon received responses from around the country.
“So, I had this lightbulb moment and I was like you know what I know about the Miss America organization…and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to use something that I am so passionate about and that is talking about adoption and my experiences and pair it with this organization that gives young women a shining microphone.”
In January of 2017, Schreckengast decided to run for Miss Central Pennsylvania and ended up winning. She then moved on to the Miss Pennsylvania pageant and ended up winning on her first try. In June of 2017, she moved onto the Miss America pageant where she said she was honored to say she was adopted on national television.
Schreckengast thanks the Miss America organization for who she is today.
“I started competing when I was 13 years old…and I just fell in love with the people.”
She says that not only did it help form her as a person but helped build her confidence and her public speaking ability.
“The organization is so service minded that it has helped me to be more service minded as well and I owe so much to that program.”
After her year as Miss Pennsylvania, Schreckengast is looking forward to coming back to Penn State to finish her degree in broadcast journalism and as well play with her Blue Band family for one last season.