Nitaya Panemalaythong was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and came to the USA as an infant in 1986. The family moved from Minneapolis, to other locations in Minnesota, to North Carolina, and back to Minnesota in 2004.
In high school, Nitaya was a member of National Beta Club, a group that recognizes academic achievement, leadership, character, and service. She was also selected to her school’s honors acapella ensemble and graduated as a North Carolina Scholar. Currently, Nitaya works full-time and attends Normandale Community College. Her goal is to attend the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and to obtain a degree in finance.
In her own words
The accomplishment Nitaya is most proud of is becoming a homeowner in 2010.
Nitaya is of Laotian decent and fluently speaks the language.
Miss Minnesota USA was Nitaya’s first pageant competition; she is the first Asian American to hold the title.