Amherst native Gabrielle Walter says she never could have expected to be crowned Miss New York.
Fresh off her victorious night in Staten Island, the 24-year old is now back home in Western New York and ready to "take this title and run with it."
"I am so lucky and honored to represent the great state of New York," Walter told 7 Eyewitness News.
Walter, a University at Buffalo Law School student, has a busy year ahead. She will spend the summer articling with Connors LLP in Buffalo, while also fulfilling her duties as Miss New York and preparing for the national pageant, Miss America, in the fall.
Walter will also be building her community platform, titled DreamUp New York, which works with disenfranchised children to identify their dreams and brainstorm concrete steps to make them a reality.
"When you get this title, you not only have a crown and sash, but you have an opportunity to make a difference in other people's lives."
Looking beyond Miss America, Walter says she hopes to pursue a career in tax law.
"I took a tax class this past semester and I enjoyed it. Tax affects so many aspects of our lives, our financial decisions, our incomes, and what we do with the money we generate."