Altoona native, Miss Pennsylvania Meghan Sinisi competes for Miss America title

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ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — The city of Altoona has something big to brag about! Did you know that the current titleholder for Miss Pennsylvania is Altoona native, Meghan Sinisi? Meghan is going to be competing for the title of Miss America at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut on Thursday December 16.

“Now I get to stand on the 100th anniversary Miss America stage as the first woman ever born and raised from Altoona — so it’s just such an honor and I’m just so excited to make Pennsylvania proud this year,” says Sinisi.

And this year is particularly an iconic, historic year for the Miss America pageant.

“It’s the 100 year anniversary for Miss America. In 1921 Miss America laid the foundation for women to be trailblazers for the rest of the century and beyond,” says Sinisi. “This year at Miss America we’re really focusing on the legacy of the Miss Americas who have built our program and the history of what women are in our world, and then laying the trajectory for the next 100 years of young women.”

A cause that is very near and dear to Meghan’s heart is Autism awareness. Meghan created a non-profit during the pandemic called ‘From A New Perspective.’

“I saw a need for those in the autism community to be connected with resources especially amidst the pandemic. I took a leap of faith and because I’m such an avid autism advocate I knew that I had it in my heart to make a change in my community.

Meghan helps raise funds for sensory rooms in public spaces so families have more accessibility. She also raises money to help fund scholarship for students with autism.

“Our main mission for From A New Perspective is to challenge the misconceptions about autism and present the truths for what it actually is for the people that experience it,” says Sinisi.

Meghan has been busy since being crowned Miss Pennsylvania, traveling the state, meeting with representatives, sports teams and schools. All to spread her mission.

“I’ve traveled over 20,000 miles since June 19th, and honestly some of the highlights have been meeting people of all different backgrounds,” says Sinisi.

Meghan visited a school in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. Meghan says she loves those little interactions where she can meet, inspire, and share her mission with kids.

And recently Meghan got to visit the state senate in Harrisburg to talk about her advocacy. “After the address, a disabled senator actually came up to me and thanked me for my service, which was one of the most momentous occasions and so rewarding to know that I’m on the right path to make a difference for the disability community,” says Sinisi.

As an Altoona native, Meghan says she’s proud of the roots that her family laid down here 100 years ago. “My family actually moved to Altoona in 1921 from Italy. They immigrated and sought the American dream and now 100 years later I get to stand on the Miss America stage and I couldn’t be more proud to represent my roots of Altoona.”

And competing in front of a large audience both in person and in front of the camera, Rebecca asked Meghan if there was anything she does as far as a ritual to calm the jitters before she goes on stage. “I honestly pray, I’m a very faithful person and I lean into that a lot.” Meghan says she recently got some advice from a Special Olympics Athlete to help calm her nerves. “Take a big, deep breath and hold it in for 10 seconds and then let it out. I think I’ll be doing that a lot this week to calm those nerves,” says Sinisi.

No matter who wins the title on Thursday, Meghan knows in her heart that the winner will go on to do amazing things with the platform. “Whoever gets that crown placed on her head on December 16, she will have a tremendous year of service, but also uplifting women through empowerment.”

Be sure to help support Meghan by attending the watch party at the Buccinese Club in Altoona Thursday December 16 at 6:30 p.m. Join Morgan Koziar and Rebecca Petner as they will host the party leading up to the crowning of Miss America.

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