Miss Next Century 2018 | Kára McCullough

Image credit: Miss Universe

Kára Deidra McCullough is an American physical scientist and emergency preparedness specialist. McCullough is also the winner of the 2017 Miss USA pageant and represented the USA in the 2017 Miss Universe contest where she was a top 10 finalist.

McCullough was born in Naples, Italy to US military family but spent most of her childhood in Virginia Beach. Her mother's role as Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy gave Kára the opportunity to travel and learn about diverse cultures in places like Hawaii, Japan, Sicily, and South Korea.

McCullough often speaks about her interest in science from a very young age. Her interest continued to grow so pursuing a career in sciences was a clear choice for her. McCullough earned her Bachelor of Sciences in Chemistry with a focus on radiochemistry at South Carolina State University where she also first became a member of the American Chemical Society, the Health Physics Society, and the American Nuclear Society. She was also inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society and the National Society of Black Engineers. At the time of the Miss USA pageant, McCullough worked at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response as an emergency preparedness specialist.

McCullough interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) led her to create an outreach program called Science Exploration for Kids (SE4K) that she funds herself. SE4k creates interactive activities celebrating and cultivate a passion for STEM subjects among children. As Miss USA, McCullough plans to expand her program throughout the country

McCullough is also a great example of the importance of being well-rounded in interests and activities. In addition to her professional career and her work to inspire young minds to study STEM subjects, her personal love and participation in sports led her to coach a girls youth sports program in while she lived and worked in Washington, DC. She loves cooking Italian and soul food and she's making the most out of her new life in New York city by exploring the Big Apple on her bike or rollerblades.

McCullough was named Future-ish's 8th Miss Next Century in 2018.

Below is a video of McCullough talking about her love for science and starting Science Exploration for Kids (SE4K):