First-year student ready to transfer lessons learned from pageants to classroom

Nina Trach
September 19, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Seven months after getting comfortable wearing her Miss Teen Pennsylvania International crown, one first-year Penn State student is adjusting to her latest title — a pre-major communications student.

Alivia Jacobs, 18, was crowned Miss Teen Pennsylvania 2019 in March. With her on-camera experience and pageant poise, Jacobs is eager to pursue a degree in broadcast journalism in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. She has already started thinking about completing a sports journalism certificate as well.

Her interest in broadcasting began in her freshman year at Bellwood-Antis High School, when a friend convinced Jacobs to join the morning announcements as a news anchor. Using the communication skills and social awareness she developed through more than 11 years of pageant experience, Jacobs found that she thrived in the role and has stuck with it ever since.

She was Miss Teen Bellwood International before she surpassed her competition in the fun fashion, interview, evening gown, aerobic wear and on-stage question portions of the competition to take the state-level title.

When it came time to choose a college, Penn State alumna and Miss Pennsylvania 2017, Katie Schrekengast, who earned her journalism degree in May, helped to show Jacobs around the Bellisario College at Innovation Park.

“When it really came down to it and I decided on communications, this was the leading program in the nation.”

— Alivia Jacobs, Miss Teen Pennsylvania 2019 and aspiring broadcast journalism major at Penn State

“When it really came down to it and I decided on communications, this was the leading program in the nation,” Jacobs said. “You can’t say no to an opportunity like this.”

Jacobs will maintain her role as Miss Teen Pennsylvania International throughout the year, fulfilling her duties with public appearances and service until she hands over the title on April 4, 2020. In her remaining seven months, she plans to continue her work with the Jared Box Project.

Jacobs has donated more than 450 shoebox-sized care packages, also known as Jared Boxes, filled with well wishes, toys and games for children in the hospital. She even helped organize the first international delivery of boxes to Canada and has plans to send Jared Boxes overseas to Paris.

For Jacobs, the opportunity to do service through her role has been the most rewarding aspect of it all.

“I just love it. I love getting to make a difference in my community,” she said. “Giving back is probably the best part.”

Jacobs plans to continue giving back in her time at Penn State as well, specifically through involvement in THON. After helping raise nearly $40,000 in two years for her high school’s Mini-THON, Jacobs said she is excited to contribute to THON 2020.

The daughter of a Penn State alumnus, Jacobs credits her professional aspirations to the football games and sporting events she attended at Penn State as a child. With hopes to one day work for ESPN, the Big Ten Network or the SEC Network, she said Penn State is the perfect place to pursue those career goals.

Jacobs said she already feels welcome on campus, thanks to friendly upperclassmen and staff. Although she graduated with just 94 high school classmates, she said the community environment at Penn State has already debunked any fears about making friends and getting involved on a larger campus.

“It’s always felt like home, and it truly is home away from home,” Jacobs said of Penn State. “It’s been nice to get acclimated up here and find my niche and meet my people.”

  • Miss Teen Pa., state senate

    Alivia Jacobs was recognized in the Pennsylvania State Senate.

    IMAGE: Photo Provided
  • Miss Teen Pa., boxes

    Charity work, including creating and delivering Jared Boxes for children battling illnesses, has been a focus for Alivia Jacobs.

    IMAGE: Photo Provided
  • Miss Teen Pa., Spikes

    Among Alivia Jacobs' public appearances at Miss Teen Pennsylvania International was a visit to a State College Spikes baseball game.

    IMAGE: Photo Provided
(1 of 3)
Last Updated September 24, 2019