News Release

Britney Gulledge,
Public Relations Associate
320 DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720

Wilmington University Student Crowned Miss North American Essence 2011-2012

This June, Melanie Haynes, a Behavioral Science major at Wilmington University, became Miss North American Essence 2011-2012. The Essence pageant, started in 2007, aims to honor “the ‘essence’ of today’s modern woman, striving to be the most stylish, urban, trend setting pageant around.”

Melanie plans to use her position as Miss North American Essence to promote her platform of searching for a cure for osteosarcoma, a form of soft tissue and bone cancer that at this time has no cure. On October 7, 2010, only three days before being crowned Miss Delaware Essence, Melanie lost her mother to osteosarcoma.

“I plan to raise awareness of this disease to the entire world with hope of helping find a cure,” she said.

Melanie works with many local and national organizations, serving as a volunteer for the Special Olympics Dover, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, American Cancer Society, The Sister’s Network (a cancer network for women of color), Think Pink Cancer Outreach program, as well as Poverty Delaware.

In 2003, she started a non-profit organization called The Dreams Drive, which assists disadvantaged families.

After finishing her degree at Wilmington University, Melanie hopes to become a child advocate and child/family counselor. She also plans to attain post-masters certification in child and family community counseling, as well as mental health counseling.

Congratulations, Melanie!

To learn more about the Essence Pageant System, visit

To learn more about Melanie and her platform, visit

Published: Thursday, August 25, 2011 - New Castle, DE