Name:                                              Tayler Plunkett

Title:                                                Miss Tri-Cities 2016

Hometown:                                     Richland, Washington

Education: Washington State UniversityTri-Cities – Elementary Education

Southridge High School

Platform Issue: Invest in Your Future: Higher Education is Attainable

Scholastic/Career Ambition: Obtain a Master’s ofSpeech and Hearing Sciences

Become a Pediatric Speech Pathologist specializing in Autism

Talent: Classical Vocalist

Scholastic Honors: WSU Academic Achievement Award; WSU Chancellor’s Scholar; WSU Freshman Scholarship; Offered WSU STEM Scholarship; Top 10% of Graduating Class; Columbia Center Rotary Merit/Community Service Scholarship; National Honor Society in High School; 4.0 Gold Pins for Academic Success in High School.

Leadership Roles: Organized and led 16 GEAR UP trainings for Peer Mentors, and a retreat for high school Student Ambassadors; Selected member of Special Olympics ‘Project Unify’ State Committee; Keynote speaker for regional FCCLA Leadership Conference; Youth Emcee and Mentor for the Washington State Prevention Summit; Polar Plunge Team Captain raising $2,400 for Special Olympics Washington; Facilitator at WSU College Preparation Day; Ignite Mentor.

Accomplishments: Hosted a coin drive raising over $1,300 for CMNH; Orchestrated a benefit concert raising $5,000 for Down syndrome research; Washington State Teens in Action Award for Community Service; Qualified and Competed at State Solo and Ensemble six times; Implemented Unified Sports at Southridge; Orchestrated “We’re More Alike Than Different” assembly at St. Joseph’s Elementary School; Young Womanhood Recognition Award.

Interesting Facts: I can sing in ten languages; I have had three foreign exchange students live with me; I can say the alphabet backwards in three seconds; I am a former baton twirler able to twirl two batons while hula hooping.

Employment: College Student Ambassador for GEAR UP at WSU Tri-Cities in the administrative office.

How has the world you come from shaped your dreams and aspirations?

Growing up alongside a brother with high-functioning Autism, I learned to see the world differently. My brother sets the sky as the limit for himself, attending college and having ambitious career goals. He does not consider himself to be disabled, which is what I admire most about him. He has taught me that life will attempt to place limitations in front of you, but a positive mind set paired with persistence empowers you to conquer any barrier you might face. 

Of all the ways you could succeed in your life, why have you chosen to succeed in the Miss America Program?

At the age of five, I had the opportunity to meet an exceptional Miss Tri-Cities. Captivated by her sparkling crown, I wanted to become just like her. However, 14 years later, I no longer seek the glamorous parts of being Miss Tri-Cities. Being involved in the Miss America Program has permanently altered my life in a positive way. I want to expose my story of personal growth and development through service to my community, inspiring others to fulfill their ambitions. There is no greater satisfaction than helping others on their own journey to success.