At the age of 17, Maria DeSantis was crowned the second Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, representing the state of New York. As Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2007, Maria spent her reign traveling the country promoting her personal platform, Getting Teens Involved in the Fight Against Cancer, and the National Platform which was then the US Dream Academy. While finishing her senior year of high school and graduating in the top of her class, Maria travelled around the county championing community involvement and spreading the word about this new amazing opportunity for young women.
Although Maria’s personal platform targeted teens, she served as a motivational speaker for people of all ages. Maria spent her year addressing high school students, elementary school students, local communities, professional business organizations, hospitals, and Rotary International Clubs. She was able to blend her work with the American Cancer Society, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and the US Dream Academy with her love of music and performance effectively throughout her year. She carried her involvement with these organizations on after her year, helping with local Relay for Life Fundraisers as well as Co-Chairing New York University’s Relay for Life.
After passing on the MAOT crown, Maria attended New York University’s Steinhardt School of Music, majoring in Classical Voice. She was the only freshman casted in the Spring Opera performance, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, and was a featured chorus member and principal dancer. Freshman year of college was a time of great personal growth for Maria as she reevaluated her career and life goals. Although she enjoyed her time at NYU immensely, she decided that a career in performance was not her long-term desire.
After much deliberation Maria transferred to Wagner College in her hometown Staten Island, New York and began working with her father at his CPA firm, DeSantis and Pellecchia LLP. Going into her senior year as a Business Administration major with a concentration in Accounting, Maria maintains a 4.0 cumulative GPA and plans on obtaining a Masters Degree in Accounting upon graduation. This upcoming June Maria will begin working with PriceWaterHouseCoopers as a member of their core tax department in Florham Park, NJ. She recently spent a semester studying abroad in Rome, Italy through St. John’s University. Although no longer studying music in an academic setting Maria still performs locally and studies privately. Music is a passion that will always hold a special place in her life.
Crowned Miss Staten Island 2011 on November 13th, Maria’s platform is “Healthy Kids for a Healthier Tomorrow.” This platform aims to improve the health of our community’s youth through increased physical activity and better nutrition. Maria hopes to accomplish her goals of improving the health of Staten Island’s young community by going into schools to speak to children and reaching their parents at PTA meetings as well as approaching schools and discussing much needed changes in school lunch and breakfast programs. As Miss Staten Island, Maria hopes to motivate her community to take a strong stance in order to improve the overall health of our children.