Carissa Tillinghast

Carissa Tillinghast from Warwick, Rhode Island was crowned Miss Rhode Island Teen USA 2024 on May 26, 2024, at the Rhode Island Convention Center in the heart of Providence. She is a 19-year-old rising sophomore at the University of Rhode Island, pursuing a career in Nursing. Carissa is a member of the Student Nurse Association, Service Chair of her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, and has future plans to serve on the executive council.  

Carissa has turned her passion for education into her own non-profit mission, Project Let’s Read. To date, Carissa has worked to collect hundreds of books and school supplies items for children across Rhode Island. To start the 2024-2025 school year, Carissa wants to introduce Project Let’s Read into elementary and middle schools across the state with book and school supplies drives. As Miss Rhode Island Teen USA 2024, her mission is to continue to promote childhood literacy and education. 

Upon graduating from the University of Rhode Island in May of 2027, Carissa has plans to become a labor and delivery nurse before continuing her education to become a Nurse Practitioner. Her career goal is to open her own Women’s Health Center in the heart of Rhode Island, to ensure women have a safe place to express their medical concerns without face of dismissal. 

As the youngest of five siblings, family is everything to Carissa. She enjoys spending time with her older sisters and her nieces. In her free time, Carissa enjoys shopping with her friends, playing tennis with her sister and going on coffee runs. In the coming year, she hopes to travel across the USA, and to countries across the world. Last summer, Carissa traveled to Eastern Europe on a Holocaust Education trip with her high school. 

This was Carissa’s third time competing for Miss Rhode Island Teen USA… third time’s a charm! Carissa cannot wait to represent Rhode Island and the Miss Teen USA organization throughout this year. She hopes to expand on her mission and connect with children across Rhode Island! She promises to hold this title with honor and grace.

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Fun Facts

  • Carissa’s favorite food is chicken tenders and french fries! 
  • She was a dancer and cheerleader her whole life! Carissa was a 2x cheerleading captain in high school, and her favorite style of dance is tap! 
  • Carissa is a signed model at Maggie Agency out of Boston, Massachusetts. 
  • In her free time, Carissa enjoys drawing, painting, pottery making and anything arts and crafts related! 
  • She is an aunt to seven nieces! 
  • Her favorite travel destination is Florida with her family, but she hopes to travel to all of the 50 states in the coming years.
  • Carissa is a cat person rather than a dog person! She has two cats, Nadia and Milo. 
  • She is extremely passionate about education, whether it is her own or others! She is working to obtain her Bachelors of Science in Nursing with plans to continue and obtain her Masters of Science in Nursing. She may even one day work to achieve her Doctorate in Nursing Practice! 
  • Within the past year, Carissa has worked closely with more than ten charitable organizations, one being her very own non-profit, Project Let’s Read! 
  • Aside from being a very active member in her sorority, Carissa holds the position of Service Chair where she coordinates community engagement/service events for her sisters through the community and state. 
  • She is also a member of the Philanthropy Committee of her sorority where she assists in the planning and execution of fundraising events to support Zeta Tau Alpha’s philanthropy, Breast Cancer Awareness and Education. 
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