Marissa Luna was crowned Miss University of Alabama 2024 Oct. 7 at the Bama Theatre. She is a sophomore from Birmingham majoring in business and is no stranger to the stage.
The aspiring singer-songwriter has been an opening act for country music artists and has performed at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.
On campus she is involved in the Future Alumni for Traditions of Excellence organization and supports the Office of Disability Services in any way she can.
During the competition Luna also earned a $500 scholarship for winning the evening gown portion of the competition and a $500 scholarship for winning the talent portion where she performed “The Prayer” by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion.
Luna shared a few words about her plans for the next year as Miss University of Alabama.
How did you get interested in this type of competition?
My interest in competing started in high school with the Miss America organization. I knew that this amazing program gives scholarships to young women. This was very helpful for my family since I also had dreams of being a recording artist. I became very interested in Miss UA because the Miss America organization provided me with a scholarship to come to school, and I have fallen in love with it.
What is your community service initiative and why is it so important to you?
My community service initiative is “More than Meets the Eye” and advocates for children, students and adults with hidden disabilities or struggles. I have grown up with three well-masked disabilities and I know how hard it can be to find a sense of belonging. I have had to learn how to adjust to a college lifestyle while having learning disabilities. I have also struggled with ocular drusen since the third grade and was recently diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. These struggles are unseen but have affected my life and out of the 42 million citizens with disabilities, 96% of them are unseen.
What are some of your goals for your year of service as Miss UA?
My goal as Miss University of Alabama is to create an inclusive and diverse community on this campus. I hope to host a few fundraisers that not only raise money for the school but also raise money for the Office of Disability Services. Being someone who does support inclusivity I want these fundraisers to include the whole community. I want to start a club that allows all groups of students to make friendships, support each other and have a safe place to share any of their worries.
The Miss University of Alabama Court
Fourth Runner-Up – Abby Sosa ($500 scholarship) and the Spirit of Alabama Leadership and Community Service Award winner ($500 scholarship)
Third Runner-Up – Lydia Fisher ($700 scholarship)
Second Runner-Up – Ruby Tilghman ($900 scholarship)
First Runner-Up – Hannah Adams ($1,100 scholarship) and the Social Media Challenge winner ($500 scholarship)
Christine Underwood earned the evening’s People’s Choice Award and a $500 scholarship.
Earning the title of Miss UA, Luna will receive a full-tuition scholarship for her year of service to UA and numerous other gifts and financial aid scholarships from numerous donors.
The Miss University of Alabama competition is an official preliminary to the Miss Alabama and Miss America competitions and is sponsored by the University of Alabama Alumni Association.