Shivali Kadam

Shivali Kadam, an Indian American engineer, will be representing Oregon at the 2020 Miss America pageant. (Miss Oregon/Facebook photo)

Shivali Kadam, a 25-year-old Indian American chemical engineer who was crowned ‘Miss Oregon’ in June, is now prepping for the ‘Miss America’ pageant.

Kadam, who graduated from Oregon State University in 2018 with a degree in chemical engineering, works as a construction manager in semiconductor manufacturing for Jacobs Engineering Group.

Kadam told the audience at the Miss Oregon contest, according to pamplinmedia.com, that her goal is to grow the next generation of female engineers and scientists.

Throughout the Miss America competition and in interviews, candidates have additional opportunities to advocate for their social impact initiatives and to demonstrate how they are uniquely qualified for the exciting and challenging 365-day job of being Miss America.

Kadam’s social impact initiative for the pageant is “STEM to Bloom: Growing the Next Generation of Female Engineers and Scientists.”

In 2016, Kadam competed at the ‘Miss Oregon 2016 Scholarship’ pageant. Kadam, who was ‘Miss Linn-Benton 2016,’ could not make the final cut, but did walk away with the ‘Non-Finalist Interview Award.’ (Read earlier India-West story here: https://bit.ly/2McGQVT)

In 2018, she won the ‘Miss America Academic Achievement Award.’

Kadam, who won the Miss Oregon 2019 tittle after three attempts, as per stemoregon.com, reveals on her website that interviews have always been her favorite phase of the competitions “because I spend so much time cultivating ideas whose seeds I am always hoping to plant in the minds of others. To have five adults be required to listen to me wax philosophical for ten minutes is a blast for me.”

Documenting her pageant experiences, Kadam goes on to write that “competing in the Miss America program, at any level, is one of the most vulnerable adventures you can choose to embark upon. You are judged on every facet of your being: mind, body, and soul. I have revealed more about myself in my Miss America interviews than I have to some of my dearest friends.”

“To be rejected after being so open, so vulnerable, is difficult. But I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything, and I hope that once the disappointment dissipates, you are left in awe of who you are and what you have done,” Kadam, who describes herself as a “25-year-old STEMinist living in Portland, Oregon,” adds.

Miss America 2020 pageant will air on NBC Dec. 19 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

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