By Jennifer Lenain, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
Bay St. Louis —
The reigning Miss Mississippi USA Paromita Mitra visited INFINITY Science Center on Thursday to promote the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (S.T.E.M.) education to middle school students and Cub Scout Pack 213 from Biloxi.
The members of the sixth grade class from Little Oak Middle School in Slidell, La., appeared eager as the crowned Mitra spoke of her love of science.
“Science is everywhere,” she said, “utilize that and incorporate that into your everyday.”
“Take the things that interest you and find out how they work.”
Mitra, an immigrant from Bangladesh brought here by her family and raised in Hattiesburg, is a senior at Mississippi State University majoring in Aerospace Engineering and she advocates for higher education and NASA’s S.T.E.M. Platform.
“I chose space engineering because my brother used to tell me about the constellations in the sky,” Mitra said, “I wanted to learn more about it.”
“In high school and college I was told that I couldn’t do it (study aerospace engineering),” she said. “The only thing that has kept me going are the words ‘you can’t do it.’”
Mitra explained how things were in Bangladesh, “Could you imagine doing your school work without electricity?” she asked. “Have you ever woke up in the morning and just thought, ‘wow, I’m in America?’”
“We’re so lucky to receive an education,” Mitra said. “In the end, an education is the one thing no one can take away from you.”
“An education gives you confidence,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to be here speaking to you if it weren’t for my education.
“Without my education, Miss Mississippi USA would not have happened for me.”
Mitra will be in the Miss USA pageant on Sunday, June 16. She speaks four languages and is trained in piano, clarinet and drums. She is the educational outreach co-director of the Space Cowboys rocket team and may be a future employee of NASA.