Julia Van Steenberghe, a current University of Maine student was crowned “Miss Maine USA 2020” on Nov. 10.
As a fourth-year elementary education and child development and family relations student, education is at the forefront of Van Steenberghe’s values. She is an active member of the UMaine community as she is involved in a number of on-campus activities with a primary focus on helping others.
Van Steenberghe is a member of the UMaine chapter of the Student Maine Education Association. She is also involved in Greek life as a member of UMaine Alpha Phi, Order of Omega. Van Steenberghe works at the UMaine New Balance Student Recreation Center, where she holds positions as a manager and group fitness class instructor. She also works for UMaine admissions as a tour guide and a student ambassador.
Van Steenberghe recognizes the support and opportunities that UMaine has provided her along her journey to becoming Miss Maine USA.
“The opportunities I have taken advantage of while being a student at the University of Maine have helped me grow as a student, leader and individual. I have learned from every moment during my undergraduate career,” Van Steenberge said.
Van Steenberghe has always been a consistent leader, especially throughout her years in high school. Hailing from Old Town, she had a job delivering newspapers for the Penobscot Times growing up. She attended Old Town High School and graduated with honors in the class of 2016. Through all four years of high school, Van Steenberghe served as the student council class president, and participated in athletics. She participated in both track and cheerleading. During her final year at Old Town High School, Van Steenberghe assisted the cheerleading team in a first-place victory at the State Class B Championships.
One thing that sets Van Steenberghe apart is her drive to take on new challenges. Van Steenberghe’s initial intention for entering the pageant realm was to challenge herself both physically and mentally. Pageants had not been a part of Van Steenberghe’s life until last year when she participated in her first pageant ever, Miss Maine USA 2019 and won first runner-up. After winning first runner-up, Van Steenberghe became inspired to run again in 2020.
“I wanted to be a voice and an inspiration to others proving that a person can achieve personal goals, no matter what they are,” Van Steenberge said.
When discussing the process of becoming Miss Maine USA 2020, Van Steenberghe explained how hard she worked in many parts of her life to earn the title.
“I learned the direct correlation between one’s mental and physical health,” Van Steenberghe said. “The physical preparation taught me the importance of balance. The mental preparation allowed me to grow as an individual and become sure of who I am and what I stand for.”
Through the duration of the year that Van Steenberghe holds the Miss Maine USA 2020 title, she will have a number of obligations and duties to fulfill. Volunteering is a large portion of fulfilling her duties. Van Steenberghe plans to spend time at the Ronald McDonald House, which is an independent nonprofit organization working towards children’s health care accessibility. She also plans to read to children in her free time, alongside working for Camp Sunshine. Camp Sunshine is a camp created for children with disabilities and illness and their families, located in Casco, Maine.
Subsequently, Van Steenberghe plans to participate in the National Miss USA 2020 competition, which will be aired on Fox.
“It is incredibly surreal and I don’t know if it will ever ‘hit me’ so to speak. I worked hard to earn this title and I am excited for the upcoming year,” Van Steenberghe said.