It may seem as though competing in pageants is becoming old hat, so to speak, for Lauren Petersen. During the past couple of years, the Bluffton native has won the title of Miss Ball State University (2009) and Miss Huntington (2010). She was an Indianapolis 500 princess in May and first runner up for Miss Indiana in 2010.
But Petersen, who, with her sister, won the Lilly Scholarship as a senior at Bluffton High School in 2007, admits to an area she struggles with when competing. “The talent sections of the pageants are a challenge for me,” she said. “I did not grow up playing the piano for others, so for me to do it on stage was fearful.”
To the average ear Petersen’s hard work and discipline belie her fear as she plays classical pieces on the piano as her talent. Petersen was a 10-year student of well-known Wells County piano teacher Daisy Cox.
The solution, according to Petersen, was to work through her fear. “As I continued to enter contests, my fear of playing the piano in public gradually eased.” For the talent portion of the Miss Central Indiana contest which took place on September 18, 2010, Petersen played a concerto in A Minor by Schumann on the stage in front of 300 people. The judges were pleased not only with her talent but also her replies to interview questions. They chose Petersen among 14 contestants to wear the crown for Miss Central Indiana 2010.
The pageant took place at Westfield High School near Carmel, Indiana. It was open to young females who lived in the area surrounding Indianapolis. As Petersen had worked at an internship at the State House since January 2010, she met the requirements.
Besides participating in community outreach activities and fundraisers during the next year, Petersen, who is a senior at Ball State University (BSU), will continue to support the program she has chosen for her pageant platform, the Make-a-Wish Foundation. “As a member of the speakers’ bureau for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, I hope to meet people and get involved on several levels in the Indianapolis area in helping people,” she said.
Petersen plans to graduate in May with a degree in Urban Planning. She would like to attend graduate school and has applied for various scholarships, including Rhodes, Marshall, and Fulbright. Her career goal is to work in real estate development and urban planning. “Through my internship, I’ve seen how people who care can make a difference,” she added. “For that reason I would like to go into politics at some level of government, either local, state, or national.”
Reprinted with permission from the News Banner