Abington senior named Miss Black Pennsylvania, platform highlights mental health

Abington Molaea-Renee Goodman

Miss Black Pennsylvania Molaea-Rene Goodman will compete for the national title next summer, shortly after she graduates from Penn State Abington.

Credit: Penn State

ABINGTON, Pa. — Penn State Abington senior Molaea-Rene Goodman won the Miss Black Pennsylvania title, with her platform focused on mitigating the stigma surrounding mental health challenges among Black women. 

“This pageant is not just about the glamour. It is about helping me get into the community and spreading positive messages and becoming an inspiration and role model to girls and women who look like me,” she said. 

“I’ve done a lot of work on my platform, and I’m preparing to launch a blog called Miss Imperfect. It will provide a safe space for Black women to share experiences including with occurrences such as imposter syndrome,” Goodman continued. 

The Lansdale, Montgomery County resident participated in a pageant when she was young and was motivated to compete with the Miss Black Pennsylvania organization by a cousin who won the title in the early 2000s.  

“I’ve been interested in pageants for some time, but I wanted to find a pageant system that had the same moral compass as me,” she said. 

The process to win the Miss Black Pennsylvania title featured a fairly rigorous interview that delved into her education and hobbies, which include art, writing, and exploring the outdoors. 

“They asked general questions but also interesting ones about my life experiences. I think it helped that I was really open and honest. It was exciting,” Goodman said.  

Next summer, she will compete in the national pageant, which includes the traditional talent segment and modeling a formal gown. 

This pageant is not just about the glamour. It is about ... spreading positive messages and becoming an inspiration and role model to girls and women who look like me.

—Molaea-Rene Goodman , Senior

Goodman’s pageant platform, coursework and extracurricular activities at Abington, and her career goals all dovetail with her lifelong interest in the mind and behavior.  

“I’ve been interested in how society and the human brain work since I was a child, and I started taking psychology and sociology classes in high school,” she said. 

The psychological and social sciences major works for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) on campus. As a peer counselor, she is one of a select few students trained in basic counseling skills and supervised by licensed mental health professionals to provide free and confidential support to other students.  

Goodman is also employed as a behavioral health technician at Omni Health Services where she supports a specialist providing treatment to clients with developmental disorders. During her internship at F.L.O.W. Wellness Center in Abington, she facilitated social and emotional skills sessions for teenagers. 

After Goodman graduates in May, she plans to find a position in her field and earn an advanced degree. 

“I’m interested in the clinical side of psychology, so I want to work on my doctorate, beginning next fall,” she said. 

Goodman initially chose Abington because it would keep her close to her brother, who graduated in 2020, but its beauty, affordability, diversity, and accomplished faculty also proved to be attractive. She treasures the relationships she has developed on campus.   

“The entire CAPS staff have become mentors to me. They are teaching me about the field, and they come in every day with open arms and open ears. They are my support system,” she said. 

About Penn State Abington 

Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st-century public higher education within a world-class research university. With more than 3,000 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 24 majors, undergraduate research, the Schreyer Honors Program, NCAA Division III athletics and more.