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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Erica Dellinger is UNCP’s third contestant for Miss N.C. title

When Erica Dellinger was named Miss Carolina Coast 2007 on February 3, she became the third student at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke to win a chance at the Miss North Carolina crown.

Erica DellingerMiss UNCP 2007 Deidra Locklear and Miss Fayetteville 2007 Jenna Walters will join Dellinger in the pageant June 19 - 23. Chancellor Allen C. Meadors likes the odds of taking the title back to Pembroke.

“UNCP is proud to have its students competing for the Miss North Carolina title,” Chancellor Meadors said. “I am confident that all three will represent themselves and the University well.”

Erica Nicole Dellinger, a Pembroke, N.C., native, is a senior majoring in biology and chemistry with a biomedical emphasis. She will graduate Summa Cum Laude (GPA 3.85 or higher) in May with a full resume.

Dellinger is no stranger to making pageant history.

When she was named Miss Lumbee 2005, she became the first person to win all four Lumbee titles. She has competed in pageants for almost as long as she can remember.

“I was in the first grade when I won my first title of Little Miss Lumbee,” Dellinger said in a recent interview. “I’ve grown a lot as a person through competing in pageants, and I’ve learned a lot about life as well.”

Dellinger enjoys the experiences and opportunities that come with holding a pageant title.  But a lot of the pageant experience takes place outside the spotlight.

Since winning her title, Erica’s already hectic schedule has been extended. 

“I work out four days a week for one-and-a half to two hours,” she said. “I alternate days working on my lower and upper body, and I do a cardio workout every day for 30 minutes.”

“I watch what I eat, and I am trying to eat better – fruits, vegetables and, of course, drink a lot of water,” Dellinger continued. “Good nutrition and diet are important, but I don’t go overboard. I always make sure I eat three meals a day.”

Besides working out and eating right, Dellinger takes time to stay informed of current events and to work on her platform, “Teen Tobacco Prevention: To Know is to Live.”

“I’ve been working on this issue for about four years,” she said. “I’ve learned through family history that smokers not only harm themselves, but others as well.”

On March 12, she appeared at the School Board Meeting for the Public Schools of Robeson County to encourage adoption of “100 percent tobacco-free schools.”

In the summer of 2005, Dellinger interned in Southeastern Regional Medical Center’s Radiology department, where she saw several patients with lung cancer and other smoking related problems. She said she makes presentations mainly to middle school students because “that is where peer pressure is most difficult for young people.”

Erica has applied to five medical schools.  Her goal is to pursue a career in Radiology.

“Going to medical school and becoming a doctor is something I’ve wanted to do since I was very young,” Dellinger said. “I believe I am ready. In college, I’ve grown into a better person, and I am prepared for my future.”

Dellinger has accomplished a lot at UNCP, a place she describes as friendly and nurturing. She is president of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and the Health Careers Club. She is vice president of Tri-Beta (biology) Honor Society and a member of Alpha Chi and Gamma Beta Phi honor societies.

As if a double major was not challenging enough, she recently decided to include a minor in American Indian Studies. How does she deal with stress?

“I have a lot on my plate,” she said. “I try to take things one day at a time.”

That steady-as-you-go philosophy has already taken Dellinger a long way, and it hopefully will earn her one more title.

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