Jolene Nieves, a Seton Hill University senior history and political science major and president of the class of 2009, will compete for the title of Miss Pennsylvania.

On March 14, Nieves, of Central City, Pa., won her seventh pageant and captured the title of Miss Tri-County. By winning this title, Nieves will be contending at the Miss Pennsylvania Pageant in June. Nieves’ platform is “Democracy in Action: Youth Voting and Political Awareness.”

“After graduation, I will continue to compete. It's a great way to work toward a goal,” said Nieves.

Nieves’ interest in pageants was sparked when she met Miss West Virginia 2006, Tiffany Lawrence.

“I was in a dress shop trying on gowns when Tiffany Lawrence, Miss West Virginia, walked into my dressing room. She apologized and talked to me for a few minutes. Later, when I was checking out, I saw her again. She told me that I should consider the Miss America Organization. And that’s where it started,” said Nieves.

Nieves started competing in pageants in November 2007 at the Miss Cambria County pageant where she placed first runner-up.

In the Miss America Organization, contestants are judged on interviews, talents, onstage questions, swim wear, and evening wear. The Miss America Organization encourages young women who participate in the program to become involved in the community, to develop a platform and to speak out on issues of concern to them, to their communities and to the nation.