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Lara Walsh
May 15, 2017 @ 7:30 am

It's that time of year again! A new pageant queen has officially accepted her crown.

And the lucky star to scoop up this year's honor at Sunday's annual Miss USA competition was none other than the District of Columbia's Kára McCullough, who proved once again that the nation's capital has some serious beauty game as she accepted the tiara from last year's winner Deshauna Barber, who is also from D.C.

McCullough, a 25-year-old physical scientist at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was hailed by producers as "one of the most intelligent contestants in recent memory" and wowed with her charm.

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During the Q&A portion of Sunday's competition, McCullough addressed the question: “What do you consider feminism to be, and do you consider yourself a feminist?”

“So as a woman scientist in the government, I’d like to lately transpose the word feminism to equalism,” McCullough said, to varied responses on social media. “I don’t really want to consider myself—try not to consider myself like this die-hard, you know, like, ‘Oh, I don’t really care about men.’ But one thing I’m gonna say, though, is women, we are just as equal as men when it comes to opportunity in the workplace.”

“And I say firsthand: I have witnessed the impact that women have in leadership in the medical sciences, as well as just in the office environment,” she continued. “So as Miss USA, I would hope to promote that type of leadership responsibility globally to so many women worldwide.”

The beauty, who wore her hair in voluminous natural curls, also shared some seriously empowering comments about hair in an interview during Thursday's preliminary round. She expressed that she wanted to break the mold and be a role model for those with her hair type. "I decided to embrace what makes me feel comfortable and what makes me feel the best and brightest on stage, but also embrace what other people can relate to," she said of her hairstyle.

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And McCullough won over hearts with her philanthropic passion project: The young scientist discussed how she founded an outreach program, Science Exploration for Kids (SE4K), that focuses on getting kids interested in science and that she hopes to inspire more women to get involved in STEM fields.

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