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Abbey Curran, junior Abbey Curran has never let Cerebral Palsy stop her from pursuing her goals. Crowned Miss Iowa USA 2008 while she was a sophomore, Abbey says her St. Ambrose professors empowered her to achieve her dreams and become a role model for girls with disabilities.


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In her theology class, Abbey recalls, Professor Mara Adams would say, “‘Don’t miss the point of your life.’ At that time I was caught up in the whirlwind of preparing for the pageant. I felt so nervous and afraid, because I walk differently and didn’t want to be a laughingstock. When she said that, I realized the point of my life is to break down the barrier in this area.”

Abbey went on to compete in the Miss USA Pageant as only the second contestant with a disability in that pageant’s history. And while she didn’t make the finals, her determination and optimism are undaunted. In summer 2008, her Miss You Can Do It Pageant, which Abbey started for girls with disabilities when she was in high school, went national, attracting 33 contestants from all over the country. “Every girl has her own purpose for doing this,” Abbey notes.

As for herself, she has set another barrier-breaking goal of qualifying for the Miss America Pageant. Yet, for Abbey, she’s already achieved success simply by gaining the confidence, with the support and encouragement of her Ambrose professors, to try. “The faculty are so responsive in guiding me to be successful,” she says. “My teachers have challenged me to be the best person I can be and shown me how to overcome obstacles.”

Ambrosians build close relationships that serve as the foundation for a personal education. With our low student-teacher ratio faculty members can give individual attention to those who need it. With more than 75 majors to choose from and the flexibility to mix majors, minors and electives, our students can tailor this well-rounded education to their personal ambitions.

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