Las Vegas, Sunday 25 January 2009: Miss Indiana, 22-year-old Katie Stam has been crowned winner of Miss America 2009. This year it is the adorable Katie Stam. The stunning Midwestern girl is Miss Indiana as well and now she has triumphed over the other 51 beauty queens vying for the title to land at the top of the heap and Katie Stam is now wearing the crown. The prize for the brunette beauty is $50,000 scholarship before embarking on a year of travel and public appearances.
The 22-year-old University of Indianapolis student became the first Miss America winner from the Hoosier State. She drew loud applause for her rendition of "Via Dolorosa" during the talent portion of the beauty pageant at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
Stam, who won a $50,000 scholarship, hopes to obtain a bachelor's degree in communications with a goal of becoming a television news anchor. She interned at WTHR in 2007 and began competing in pageants at age 15.
Stam said she had one semester left in school - but didn't know when she would finish - and already was graduating debt free without the $50,000 prize. Stam said she might use the money for graduate school.
"I've been looking forward to coming to Miss America my entire life. I always knew watching the Miss America program that the contestants are just going to be so amazing," Stam told Eyewitness News in an interview earlier this week.
Other girls in the top five were: first runner-up Miss Georgia Chasity Hardman, second runner-up Miss Iowa Olivia Myers, third runner-up Miss New York Leigh-Taylor Smith, and fourth runner-up Miss Florida Sierra Minott.