UNL Grad, Born Without Forearm, in Miss America Pageant

Posted on Oct 05, 2013

Nicole Kelly, 23-year-old resident of Keokuk, Iowa, is a graduate of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, who was born without a right forearm. This January, Kelly took part in the first round for the 2014 Miss America Pageant, held in Des Moines, ultimately winning the title of Miss Iowa.

“I kind of went into Miss Iowa thinking it would be a great learning experience,” Kelly said about the title. “So actually winning was very shocking. It was a lot of emotion, because literally my life changed right there in that one moment.”

Before graduating UNL in May 2012, Kelly worked as a student stage manager, inspiring other students and superiors with her focus and ambition. After graduating, she interned at the Santa Fe Opera, the Manhattan Theatre Club, and the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

“She doesn’t look at the limitations,” said Paul Steger, the executive director for the School of Theatre and Film at UNL. “She just goes full force forward.”

Though the title of 2014 Miss America ultimately went to New York’s Nina Davuluri, Kelly still plans to take advantage of the visibility the pageant offers to advocate greater awareness for the community of people with disabilities.

The Omaha disability lawyers at Cuddigan Law celebrate Nicole Kelly and wish her the best of luck in future endeavors. If you need to learn more about the process of applying for or appealing Social Security disability benefits claim, call (402) 933-5405 today. Also check out our free booklet, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case.

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