Alumna uses Miss Pennsylvania win to spread awareness of heart disease

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- One. Two. Three. Jordyn Colao has witnessed three of her grandparents die from heart disease. Her losses are what compelled the May 2012 Penn State graduate in biobehavioral health to pursue a career as a physician's assistant who focuses on cardiology.

But before heading off to graduate school, Colao, who is from Erie, Pa., will spend the remainder of 2012 promoting the platform -- the prevention of heart disease -- on which she won the Miss Pennsylvania 2012 competition.

"Knowing that I lost my grandparents to heart disease and that it is the No. 1 cause of death for men and women really inspired me to join forces with the American Heart Association," she said. "As Miss Pennsylvania 2012, I am Northwest Pennsylvania's Spokesperson, which allows me to spread awareness about the importance of heart disease prevention, raise money for research and perform presentations at middle schools to urge children to get excited about the positive long-term effects of exercising and eating healthy."

Colao says she wouldn't be in a position to make such a positive difference in people's lives if it weren't for her degree in biobehavioral health from Penn State.

"Biobehavioral health covered a wide spectrum of health topics, from stress to bioethics to pharmacology; there was always something exciting to learn," she said. "I know my BBH degree will catapult me successfully into the health-care field because it has introduced me to every dimension of health."

While at Penn State she balanced her studies with membership in the Tapestry Dance Company. Consequently, she had the opportunity to travel to New York City to train with the renowned Steps Dance Studio on Broadway. She also helped to raise more than $20,000 for THON.

After completing her Miss Pennsylvania duties, Colao plans to compete in the Miss America pageant.

"Miss America's national platform is the Children's Miracle Network (CMN), which ties perfectly into my platform of heart disease prevention," she said. "So far, as an upcoming contestant, I have been spending time in Pennsylvania's five CMN hospitals located in Erie, Pittsburgh, Hershey, Philadelphia and Danville. It has been rewarding to see firsthand how the money Miss America raises supports the hospitals, the patients and their families."


Last Updated September 25, 2012