Kara McCullough, a scientist working for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has been crowned Miss USA. McCullough, who represented the District of Columbia in the decades-old pageant, was born in Naples, Italy, and raised in Virginia Beach, Va. She says she wants to inspire children to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the AP reports. "I love science," McCullough said after the Sunday event. "I look at this as a great opportunity to ... get to experience worldwide culture, as well as just having the opportunity to be impacted by so many children, hopefully in the math and sciences."
McCullough bested 50 other contestants and will represent the US at the Miss Universe contest. This was the second year in a row that the representative of the nation's capital won the Miss USA title. Last year, DC resident Deshauna Barber became the first-ever military member to win Miss USA. McCullough says she will be discussing with her supervisor whether she will take a leave of absence from her job at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during her one-year reign. Miss New Jersey Chhavi Verg, who studies marketing and Spanish at Rutgers University, was the runner-up at the event held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on the Las Vegas Strip. (What exactly does Miss USA do? Find out here.)