Pageant title spurs OTD student to pursue greater role in supporting homeless
September 29, 2022 — DENTON — Aryana Bosh is small but mighty. The 5’2” Texas Woman’s occupational therapy doctoral student has big plans, big ideas and a lot to say.
Since being named Miss Black Texas in August 2022, Bosh has been a visible presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area; volunteering, speaking in front of groups and getting her photo taken many, many times. She is always pictured with a large smile, proudly wearing her silver crown.
“This title has brought me so many opportunities and I am so excited for what's to come in the future,” Bosh said.
Bosh has used her platform to elevate causes that are dear to her. Her main focus is on people who lack housing and deal with food insecurity. Some of her most impactful opportunities have been distributing food at Our Daily Bread, a shelter that feeds and cares for at-risk individuals in the Denton community, and hosting a donation drive for LGBTQ residents who are homeless in the Dalllas area.
As a first-year OTD student, Bosh has spoken to student groups who are planning careers in OT. She has also talked to younger students in middle school about the importance of education. It is also a priority for her to speak to organizations that are geared toward young Black women.
When Bosh was planning to attend TWU, she didn’t anticipate juggling being a student and also fulfilling duties with the Miss Black Texas title.
Bosh was in disbelief when she read the email on Aug. 29, naming her the next Miss Black Texas. She reread it five times. She called her mom. She cried.
“It means something,” Bosh said. “It is bigger than the crown and the sash.”
Bosh was crowned Miss Black Texas, figuratively speaking. The Miss Black Texas pageant was moved from an in-person event in Dallas to a virtual competition due to COVID-19 precautions. As a state titleholder, she will compete for the national title of Miss Black USA in August 2023 in Washington, D.C.
While scrolling on social media in 2021, Bosh saw an advertisement for the Miss Black USA pageant. Her interest piqued, she began doing some research and found out that the Miss Black USA Organization is the first and largest scholarship pageant for women of color in the country, and she said she was drawn by the success stories of former title holders.
Bosh was one of 10 finalists to advance to the virtual competition in August, which consisted of an interview with a panel of judges. She said she was shaking in front of her laptop before her interview, but believes it was her authenticity that swayed the judges.
“I really let them know that they were putting this small-town girl on the map,” Bosh said. “This is something way out of my comfort zone. I want to make change. I want to go in the community and do what I can do. I know I can’t do it alone, of course. It starts with one person.”
While being mindful of her studies, Bosh fills her weekend calendar with speaking engagements and appearances. It wasn’t always easy for Bosh to speak in front of large groups.
Growing up in Jacksonville, Texas, a town of about 14,000 souls, Bosh said she was demonstrably timid. When she arrived in the much larger Denton to go to school at UNT, she told herself she was tired of being shy.
“I just made myself get outside my comfort zone,” Bosh said. “Being comfortable is cool, but when you are comfortable and stagnant, nothing really happens.”
Occupational therapy has always been the goal for Bosh. Her role model is her mother, who taught students with learning disabilities. After graduating with an undergraduate degree in rehabilitation studies, Bosh spent a year working at two clinics helping children with autism. She was thrilled to be able to stay in Denton and attend TWU.
“It really was the culture of the campus,” Bosh said about her decision to go to TWU. “It was the beauty of the campus, the diversity of the campus. I also saw that the OT program was ranked No. 17 (nationally). That’s a big deal. I really wanted to go to TWU.”
For the remainder of her year as Miss Black Texas, Bosh would like to get more involved around campus and the surrounding area with food and donation drives and hopefully speak with city and state leaders about her plans.
“I just think there is more that needs to be done,” Bosh said. “No human should be in a position where they don’t know where their next meal is coming from or if they can keep a roof over their head. It’s not right.”
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Page last updated 3:48 PM, January 31, 2023