Princeton University student crowned Miss New Jersey

 Cara McCollum is the new Miss New Jersey. (Photo courtesy of John O'Neill, Princeton Alumni Weekly)

Cara McCollum is the new Miss New Jersey. (Photo courtesy of John O'Neill, Princeton Alumni Weekly)

A Princeton University student has captured the Miss New Jersey crown and earned a spot in the Miss America pageant when it to Atlantic City later this year.

The Press of Atlantic City reports 20-year-old Cara McCollum captured the title Saturday night in Ocean City. She was competing as Miss Island Resort.

McCollum will receive an $11,000 scholarship and a place in the Miss America pageant on September 15. Pageant officials say they are handing out about $35,000 total in scholarships overall.

The Arkansas native plans to advocate for youth literacy.

McCollum bested 22 other contestants. Brenna Weick, of Mantua, Gloucester County, was first runner-up.

Last year’s winner was Lindsey Petrosh of Egg Harbor City.

Miss America pageant

This will be a special year for Miss New Jersey because the Miss America pageant returns to Atlantic City after seven years. The pageant moved to Las Vegas in 2006.

It will be a 13 day event following Labor Day weekend and will include three nights of Preliminary Competitions that will take place on September 10, 11 and 12 at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall and the “Show Us Your Shoes Parade” that will be held on the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk on Saturday, September 14.

The Miss America pageant will be televised live on ABC.

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