Kara McCullough

2017 Miss USA & Nuclear Scientist


Kara is a full-time optimist. She lives by the quote, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence!” As a scientist in nuclear energy regulation, Miss USA 2017, founder of Science Exploration for Kids, and a girl’s basketball coach, Kara has used her platform to share her life experiences and motivationally speak about having the growth mindset.

For as long as she can remember, Kara has been fascinated with science and the impact it has on our everyday lives. One of her earliest memories asĀ  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 grew 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 scientist for the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

As the founder of “Science Exploration for Kids” (SE4K) – An organization dedicated to enhancing the science and math experience for students by incorporating the arts into STEM = STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). SE4K creates “Fun-with-Purpose” activities for every grade level through after-school programs, travel workshops and career readiness. This in return helps students cultivate a passion for all STEAM subjects.