Personal: Ballam has devoted the year to speaking engagements and appearances, many in schools. Next fall, she will return to Utah State University as a junior studying political science and theater. The award-winning singer plans to seek a master's degree in theater from an East Coast university with $21,000 in scholarships earned through the Utah and Miss America pageants, winning the top talent award in the latter.

On reading: The Cache Valley 21-year-old always brings along a friend in her frequent travels: a good book. "If I'm not speaking, I'm reading," Ballam said. "I'm the type of person who gets really involved in books -- and movies. Since I was teeny, I've liked to read."Youth selections: As a child, Ballam enjoyed C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," Lynne Reid Banks' "The Indian in the Cupboard" and Beverly Cleary's Ramona books.

Today's picks: Ballam is reading "Standing for Something" by LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley and Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." She also recently enjoyed reading about women in Utah history. "I always have a book with me."