Paromita Mitra, 20, was crowned Saturday at Harrah’s Event Center in Tunica.
In addition to her beauty, what may make Mitra, a former Miss Mississippi Teen USA, stand out among other contestants is serious brain power.
According to examiner.com, Mitra was president of her senior class, a member of the debate club and has said she wants to become an aeronautical engineer for NASA. According to her Facebook profile, she is currently studying aerospace engineering at Mississippi State University.
Brains also run in the family. Her father is University of Southern Mississippi Professor Amal Mitra, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics and a Fulbright Scholar in the Department of Community Health Sciences. He has been a Southern Miss faculty member the past 15 years.
“I was probably holding my breath at that moment and my heart was pounding,” Amal Mitra said in a press release, referring to seconds before his daughter was named winner. “When I heard her name called as the winner, I jumped up and shouted loud.”
Mitra, a Bangladeshi-born U.S. citizen, spent this past summer visiting her birthplace working as a volunteer for Operation Smile Bangladesh, a program that promotes health education to poor children with cleft lips and palates in that region.
Here’s her Q & A as a teen contestant from the Miss Universe pageant site:
Q: What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
A: During my junior year of high school the student body organized a relay called “One Revolution” to protest against rising gas prices. Instead of driving to school we walked and rode bikes and scooters to school. We had police escorts and we were on the news! To make things even more crazy, teachers stood at the doors cheering for us and allowed us to ride our bikes and scooters to classes that day.
Q: Do you cook and/or bake anything? If so, what are your special dishes?
A: If I do say so myself, I rock at baking cakes. I love to design and try new things. My specialty is the Tres Cake. It is a vanilla cake drenched in condensed milk and topped with whipped icing and Heath Bar crumbs!
Q: If you were handed 10 million dollars, what would you splurge on?
A: I would buy my family in Bangladesh a new house. The living conditions there are very poor and not every country is as fortunate as America to have affordable living costs.
Q: If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be and why?
A: Norah Jones. I have always respected her music because it is so unique. She also tends to stay out of the negative lime light, unlike most stars with as much success as her.
Q: What is unique about you (something no other contestant can say about themselves)?
A: My cross-cultural differences define who I am. I was born in Bangladesh but raised in the United States. I truly believe that I can represent this country in the best light because I see such a broad spectrum of opportunities as an American citizen and appreciate every freedom I have been given. To wake up every morning knowing that I am Miss Teen USA, a representation of the greatest country in the world, would be the greatest honor.