STAMFORD, Conn. -- Kaitlyn Tarpey of Stamford was crowned Miss Connecticut on Saturday night, according to the Miss Connecticut website .
Tarpey, who competed as Miss Southington, won the title in a field of 20 contestants at the Garde Arts Center in New London. She is a 21-year-old student at the Honors College at Pace University and lists Stamford as her hometown on her Wordpress biography .
She will compete in the Miss America Competition in September, where Tarpey said she hopes to reach the Top 15.
Having family members who have served in the military and are struggling to acclimate back into society, Tarpey has made it her priority to educate others and help veterans as much as she can.
She is involved with multiple veterans’ organizations including the Connecticut Fallen Heroes Foundation, the Purple Heart Foundation and the National Veterans Services Fund.
Another one of her goals is to help the Miss Connecticut organization grow by bringing in more sponsors and helping with recruitment.
“I’d like to see more than 30 girls competing for Miss Connecticut next year,” Tarpey said. “I would love to recruit more young women.”
A competitive Irish Step Dancer since the age of 8, she presents a contemporary Irish Step Dancing routine for the talent portion of competition.
And though she might appear fully Irish, Tarpey was born in France. Her brother, Terry, is a sophomore at William & Mary and a member of the men's basketball team. He was a high school star at Fairfield Prep.
After learning that the Miss America Organization is the largest provider of scholarships in the world, Kaitlyn decided to participate in a local pageant. She began competing in the Miss Connecticut Pageant two years ago after surviving an almost-fatal lung surgery, according to the website. She won the Miss Teen America pageant in 2008.