As recently as two years ago, Kiaraliz was told she wouldn’t be able to study-her passion-or even get out of bed due to her chronic condition. The news was staggering to the third-year chemical engineering student and long-time dancer. No medicines she was prescribed could fight her disease or stop her from slipping close to depression. But in the end it was holistic medical treatments she received in California that changed her perspective on healthcare and helped shape her plans for the future.
Kiaraliz is combining her knowledge of chemical engineering and her personal experience with naturopathy to spread her message of hope, a mantra supplemented by lessons she is already learning from the Miss America Organization.
“It’s a great experience and I’m growing as a person. There’s just so much knowledge you can gain from this,” she says.
MAO encourages young women to fight against all odds to achieve their dreams, Kiaraliz says. Her personal platform, The Power Within Us, is built on this concept.
“I haven’t had an easy childhood. Many people told me I couldn’t. But I proved them wrong, I put passion before me. Every human being has power before them and can achieve anything in life,” she says.
MAO’s own platform is particularly meaningful to Kiaraliz because the children’s hospital where she received treatments as a young girl was later adopted by the Children’s Miracle Network. Everything is falling into place for this bilingual Miss, and she says she would love to represent her nation and personal values as the first Puerto Rican Miss America. Above all things, Kiaraliz aims to achieve her goals through perseverance, knowing that she is a fighter and that “there is no greater obstacle in our path than our own limitation.”
Written by: Erika Fifelski, fourpoints staff writer Photo: Miss Puerto Rico Scholarship Organization