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UT Student Crowned as 2008’s Miss Tampa

Published: March 17, 2008
As a student, University of Tampa senior Kaitlin Monte’s interests are split. On one side are the business-related subjects of marketing and public relations, which she plans to focus on for her post-graduate studies. The more artistic side is what led her to a musical theater major at UT.

Monte appears to have a knack for both, which was demonstrated on March 8 when her creative talent and professional poise led her to be crowned the winner of the 2008 Miss Tampa pageant at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. With the win, Monte was awarded a $2,000 scholarship as well as a chance to compete for the title of Miss Florida in July.

“From a formal perspective, it’s an amazing opportunity,” Monte said of her win. “From a personal perspective I’m just excited to be picked.”

Having originally chosen to study engineering in her home state of New York, Monte later transferred to UT to take part in its musical theater and communications programs. Yet, even with the strong interest she has for performing arts, Monte says her ultimate ambitions are to work in public relations and marketing, with a specialization in crisis management. Pageants and other performance activities are simply an extended passion of which she intends to make the most.

“It keeps me in shape, quick witted and on my toes,” she said.

Having previously won the titles of Miss Greater Rochester and Miss Teenager New York, Monte was a runner-up in last year’s Miss Tampa competition. Her decision to participate in this year’s competition was one that she made a week before the event itself. Friends and colleagues in UT’s theater department assisted her in preparing, Monte said.

“I tried not to over prepare,” she said. “So I think I had freshness on my side. I wasn’t completely rehearsed. The hardest part is shutting off your conscience and not picking yourself apart during the competition.”

Monte’s official platform of striving to help people with disabilities also was a significant factor in her securing the win. In the past, Monte has worked with a New York theater program that helped disabled people rehearse and perform plays.

“I have two siblings with disabilities, so it’s always been a strong interest of mine,” she said. “I hope that as Miss Tampa I can continue to do more of that kind of work, if nothing else.”

As she prepares to compete in the Miss Florida competition, Monte will make appearances at various local events as Miss Tampa. At the same time, she is preparing to take on the lead role in the UT production of “Little Women,” which is scheduled to premiere April 24.