School: Fordham University
College Major: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance
Scholarship Winnings: $13,450
Social Impact Initiative: Raise The Barre
Miss America empowered me to: instill in children from all backgrounds and abilities that they can achieve greatness with hard work and determination. If ever they question that, I tell them, “I believe in YOU.” I have reached over 2,000 students with my nonprofit, Raise The Barre. I am not only educating, but also building community and giving children the inspiration to dream big.
Bio: Michaelene Karlen is a professional dancer, founder of her skincare company, Ballerina Botanicals, and founder of her own nonprofit, Raise The Barre. In 2016, she graduated from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program in New York. Michaelene danced professionally with Arch Contemporary Ballet in New York City, James Sewell Ballet, and Alternative Motion Project. Her skincare company has been featured in multiple magazines and by Etsy twice. She has allowed thousands of students the opportunity to learn dance and has awarded seven full tuition dance scholarships. This provides students the financial opportunity to dance in a studio setting for the first time.