Kára McCullough was born in Naples, Italy, but raised in Virginia Beach for the majority of her childhood. Her mother’s position as Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy (she is now retired) exposed Kára to many different cultures and places at a young age, including Sicily, Japan, South Korea and Hawaii.
For as long as she can remember, Kára has been fascinated with science and the impact it has on our everyday lives. One of her earliest memories as a child was rummaging through a Naval base tower’s basement in Japan, where she came across a science kit that had been discarded. Her passion for science grow from there, leading her to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with a concentration in Radiochemistry from South Carolina State University. Her major provided her opportunities to intern at many universities, which paved the way to her current career as a scientist for the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Kára is the founder of a self-funded community outreach program called “Science Exploration for Kids” (SE4K), which creates interactive activities celebrating math and science to cultivate a passion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among children. As Miss USA, Kára will expand her program throughout the country and continue to advocate for today’s youth to enter STEM career fields.
Kára enjoys mentoring children not only in science, but also through her love of sport. A strong basketball player through middle and high school, Kára has coached an all-girls youth program in the greater D.C. area. Outside of her work for the government and in the community, Kára has a penchant for cooking specialty Italian and soul food cuisines inspired by her early travels. Kára’s win marks the first time a contestant from the District of Columbia has won the title back-to-back, and only the second time any delegate won back-to-back (1989, Illinois).
2017 will be the first time that Kára has lived in New York City and she plans to make the most of it. She has already purchased a bike and rollerblades to help her explore every inch of the city and the opportunities that come with it.