Miss Vermont, Erin Connor, started the 97th Miss America pageant winging her way from Vermont to Atlantic City, N.J., in a slightly more unique way than her fellow contestants – she was at the controls of the airplane.
Connor made the three-hour trek down the Hudson River corridor at about 1,000 feet with Doug White of Stowe as her copilot in a low-wing Piper Arrow single-engine airplane. Connor got her private pilot certificate as a teenager from Vermont Flight Academy.
Her platform as Miss Vermont includes Tailwinds, a program she started to encourage adolescent girls to pursue dreams of aviation with flight camps and interactive aviation career lessons.
White, a senior project manager at Norwich University, said he supports Connor and her efforts to bring attention to young women to enter science, technology, engineering and math fields.
“Making sure that the female population knows that STEM education can play a vital role in securing a job that you want, not that you have to have. You can go after a career of your choice. (Erin) is a good example of somebody pursuing a career through STEM education.”
A recent graduate of the University of Vermont, Connor grew up in Bridport and graduated from Middlebury Union High School in 2013. The pageant finale is Sunday at 9 p.m. on ABC.