2017 Contestants


Tierra Gonzalez

Age: 20

Talent: Jazz Dance

School: New York University College of Arts and Sciences

Platform: One Voice, One Vote: Encouraging Millennials to Use their Civic Voice

Future Plans: Obtain a Master’s Degree in Journalism, pursue a career in politics and journalism, and eventually work for a major news network as a White House correspondent.

Jillian Larson

Age: 18

Talent: Vocal

School: New York University Tandon School of Engineering

Platform: Be Smart Keep Art – Promoting the Arts in Education

Future Plans: Obtain a bachelor’s degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

LiLing Rivera

Age: 20

Talent: Brazilian Zouk Dance

School: Binghamton University

Platform: Finding a Voice for Young America

Future Plans: After graduation, I plan on taking a year off from school to better prepare for my LSAT examination. I am striving to get into a top law school and one day becoming a great lawyer

Diana Marie Russo

Age: 20

Talent: Contemporary Dance

School: St. John Fisher College

Platform: Alzheimer’s Awareness, Remembering Through Music

Future Plans: I aspire to be an entertainment news broadcaster for a national news organization. Public speaking is my niche and it is something I have a passion for and feel comfortable doing. I enjoy connecting with and informing an audience and reporting news.

Stephanie Kelley

Age: 22

Talent: Dance

School: American Musical Dramatic Academy

Platform: Hungry for Hustle- empowering young adults to work for their success

Future Plans: To become a Radio City Rockette

Melissa Calato

Age: 21

Talent: Vocal

School: Wagner College

Platform: Michael’s Cause Fighting Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Future Plans: I hope to continue my education and receive an MBA degree in marketing plan on developing a career in global fashion marketing. Negative self-image and lack of confidence is a huge issue that society can help solve through marketing tactics that promote positive body image within the fashion industry so I aspire to build a successful career in fashion marketing.

Emma Silen

Age: 22

Talent: Monologue

School: Ithaca College

Platform: Safe Spaces, Strong Teams

Future Plans: To become the creative director of an advertising agency and win a Cannes Lion

Stephanie Meadowcroft

Age: 23

Talent: Vocal

School: New York University

Platform: A Ray of Hope – Healing Through Music

Future Plans: Broadway Performer

Cassie Paradise

Age: 21

Talent: Jazz Dance

School: The College of Staten Island and The New Millnnium Medical Assistant Training Center

Platform: “Turn the Label into the Able”-Empowering Children and Teens with Disabilities

Future Plans: To obtain a masters degree in pediatric nursing, with the hopes to work as a scrub nurse in the pediatric operating room

Nicole Doz

Age: 22

Talent: Opera

School: Brooklyn College

Platform: Solving the Mystery of Lupus

Future Plans: Detective with the New York City Police Department

Paulette Gindi

Age: 20

Talent: Original Monologue

School: Brooklyn College

Platform: Fight to Write: Discovering the Talent Within

Future Plans: As a published author, I hope to pursue writing as a full-time career and become a best-selling author one day.

Rose Bolella

Age: 23

Talent: Tap Dance

School: New School for Social Research

Platform: Change Minds, Change Lives: Erasing the Stigma of Mental Illness

Future Plans: I aspire to obtain a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, open my own clinical practice and see various types of clients and truly give back to my community.

Deanna Holzer

Age: 17

Talent: Contemporary Dance

School: Talent Unlimited High School

Platform: Lupus Awareness

Future Plans: Become a CPA


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