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.

Cara McCollum is crowned Miss New Jersey (Miss New Jersey Education Foundation)


The Press of Atlantic City reports 20-year-old Cara McCollum captured the title Saturday night in Ocean City at the Music Pier in front of 1,000 She was competing as Miss Island Resort.

McCollum grew up in Arkansas and moved to Princeton with her family according to the Berkeley Patch. She is journalism major at Princeton University and a member of New Jersey Ghost Hunters.

Her platform is "Giving the Gift of Reading" and she played the piano in the talent portion of the pageant.

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.

McCollum bested 22 other contestants. Brenna Weick, of Mantua, Gloucester County, was first runner-up.Third runner-up was Miss Cape Shores Cierra Kaler Jones, of Galloway Township; and fourth runner-up Miss Seashore Line Kaitlyn Schoeffel, of Egg Harbor Township.

The pageant was hosted by New Jersey 101.5's Dena Blizzard who was Miss New Jersey 1995.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report