Did you know? USC engineering alumna now Miss USA

Miss USA creating pipeline to encourage STEM interest in young girls.
Miss USA creating pipeline to encourage STEM interest in young girls.(University of South Carolina)
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 1:40 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Newly crowned Miss USA, Morgan Romano, wants to use beauty pageants and philanthropy to inspire Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) interest in young girls.

Romano is a University of South Carolina chemical engineering alumna, she wants to use her influence by helping to develop a pipeline for young women to pursue a career in STEM.

“We need more women (in STEM) and that starts at a younger age because your curiosity and the things you’re passionate about start to shape when you’re young,” Romano says. “If kids aren’t being told about STEM, how would they know to ever pursue it? I went through elementary, middle, and high school and no one ever talked to me about STEM opportunities. I just stumbled upon it and checked the box for chemical engineering and had no idea what to expect.”

During her time at USC, she won Miss Midlands in Columbia her first year and competed in Miss South Carolina three times, but never got the crown. However, she continued her beauty pageant competitions in recent years.

Morgan Romano was Miss North Carolina in 2021 and the first runner-up at Miss USA 2022. The Miss USA winner in 2022 was named Miss Universe so Romano now holds the title of Miss USA.

After graduation, Romano moved to Charlotte and is currently an application engineer at R.E. Mason in Charlotte, she spends her free time encouraging young girls to help build their interest in STEM opportunities.

Not only is Romano a classroom assistant for Project Scientists, an after-school STEM program, she also enjoys working with the Best Buddies International program to promote STEM and offer opportunities to young girls and disadvantaged children in North and South Carolina.

A personal initiative she started, Outside the Box, sends a science box to hospitals, classrooms, and libraries – hundreds of boxes were provided in 2022 – with the goal of sparking a STEM interest in young girls.

“Some of the science boxes are sent to children’s hospitals. Little girls are pulled from school and they have to do online classes and they sometimes lose interest in learning because it’s more of a chore,” Romano says. “These STEM boxes make learning fun. They forget they’re learning, they forget they’re doing science. It’s just a fun activity that’s subconsciously creating that passion within them.”

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