Aynia Dorsey Named Miss Black Pennsylvania U.S. Ambassador

Issue Date: 
February 23, 2015

It took just one visit to the University of Pittsburgh in 2010 to convince Aynia Dorsey that she had found her college.

Dorsey, a senior psychology major who is minoring in Africana Studies, has never looked back—and she will carry much of her Pitt experience with her as she embarks on a yearlong reign as Miss Black Pennsylvania U.S. Ambassador.

Aynia Dorsey

Dorsey received the title in November after submitting an extensive application and participating in an interview with the organization’s board. Originally from Montgomery County, Md., the 22-year-old undergraduate will compete for the Miss Black U.S. Ambassador title in June in Atlanta. The Miss Black U.S. Ambassador events are sponsored by Dr. Ruth Joyce Colbert Barnes Foundation and the Oklahoma Sovereign Arts Foundation.

The national competition for Miss Black U.S. Ambassador is a scholarship pageant. Contestants are judged on their performances during an interview, an on-stage question-and-answer about current events, as well as their poise during an evening gown promenade. The winner receives  a $5,000 Ambassador of Change Education Scholarship as well as support in arranging community- and school-based events for volunteer and issue-awareness activities.

Dorsey plans to address two issues during her year as Miss Black Pennsylvania U.S. Ambassador: Alzheimer’s awareness as well as missing and exploited children.

She said her interest in Alzheimer’s stems from her great-grandfather, William A. Colbert, Jr., a surviving Tuskegee Airman, who was diagnosed with the disease. 

When Dorsey first visited Pitt in 2010, she met with Kathy Humphrey, who was then vice provost and dean of students. Dorsey said the experience gave her a clear view of Pitt’s commitment to strong female leaders and persuaded her that Pitt was the correct choice for college. 

“She epitomizes what we hope for every Pitt student; that they will play a significant role in our community and our world,” says Humphrey, who is now senior vice chancellor for engagement and chief of staff to Chancellor Gallagher. “She embodies what we are striving for at Pitt, and I am so proud of her.”

Dorsey will graduate from Pitt in April, and she says her Pitt experiences have been deeply rewarding. She has embraced her adopted city, including working at the Mount Ararat Baptist Church Child Development Center in East Liberty, where she became an assistant teacher.

“What I’ve garnered most from being at Pitt is truly finding myself, and what it is that I want to do in life,” she says. “Overall, I’ve gained a whole new sense of independence, who I am, and what I stand for.”