Miss Maryland USA Live from Mazza Gallerie

Marina Harrison was crowned Miss Maryland USA 2005 on December 5, 2005 in N. Bethesda, MD, taking on 88 women from across the state to win the title. In addition to winning more than $40,000 in cash and prizes, Marina will compete in the 2005 MISS USA pageant to be held at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore , MD , on April 11, 2005. She will be the first Maryland woman to represent the state in two nationally televised pageants.

Marina has dedicated her life to promoting the immeasurable value of a public education and how its success or failure affects us all. In addition to keynoting numerous events for local, state and national organizations, Marina logged about 50,000 miles across 9 states and two continents and has visited nearly 100 public schools across the nation to motivate students to “Start Today” in making their dreams come true.

At age 17, Marina had first-hand experience as a policy-maker at the school board level when she was elected by her peers and appointed by the governor to be the Anne Arundel County Student Board Member. As the only full voting student board member in the nation, Marina had the authority to hire and fire the Superintendent, expel students, and even make fiscal and budgetary decisions. Since then she has advocated public schools at the local, state and federal levels and partnered with the Maryland State Department of Education and Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.

While Marina performs vocally at most appearances, she has taken jazz, ballet, modern, and tap classes for over 16 years and 8 years of piano training. A true “triple-threat” and member of the International Thespian Society, Marina has starred in both amateur and professional musical and theatrical productions including Fame (Carmen), and Once on This Island (Little Girl, Erzulie). She starred in TV Public Service Announcements for the victims of Hurricane Isabel and headlined an American Red Cross Benefit Concert for the Disaster Relief Fund and the 2nd Annual Blue Cross Blue Shield Onyx Awards in Orlando Florida .

Marina has also had a myriad of professional experiences, including a three-year stint at the U.S. Department of State, where she worked at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington , VA. While at the State Department Marina met Colin Powell, and worked personally for former FSI Ambassador Ruth Davis. In her final semester in college, Marina interned at Amlev Dershowitz Communications, at which she worked primarily with Fortune-500 and Homeland Security clients. Currently, Marina works with the Maryland State Department of Education as a communications and youth development specialist, where her primary duties include serving as spokesperson for the PRIDE: Maryland Public Schools campaign, and facilitating First Lady of Maryland Kendall Ehrlich’s Teen Advisory Council for Teen Substance Abuse.

Marina entered her first pageant at age 21, when her parents informed her that she would not be able to continue her education at the University of Maryland without scholarship assistance. Just 18 months and more than $52,000 in scholarships later, Marina received her bachelors in communication/public relations with a minor in government & politics in May 2003. She hopes to obtain a joint Juris doctorate and masters of business administration and eventually become the White House Press Secretary one day.

Born in Fort Sill , Oklahoma , Marina , 23, grew up all over the Unites States as a “military brat.” She has two brothers and one sister: Telemachus , 32; Demetrius, 19; Katrina, 30.

Titleholder photo by Harold Dombrowski