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Miss America Speaks with Owensboro College Students

NIna Davuluri spoke at OCTC about her journey to being crowned Miss America and about diversity.
A New York woman made history when she became the first Indian-American to be crowned Miss America. Nina Davuluri is in western Kentucky today, sharing her story and her message of diversity to Owensboro college students.

Life is a journey. Nina Davuluri's journey took her around the country.

"I was born in Syracuse, and when I was four, I moved to Oklahoma.," she says.

But she says in her journey, she encountered misconceptions about her and her culture.

"So many people ask me what the red dot means, if I worshiped cows, and if I'm going to have an arranged marriage, and the list goes on," Davuluri says. "All of these similar stereotypes followed me, even at the university level."

Davuluri's journey took her to the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, and to the top.

Now as Miss America, she's traveling the country, spreading her message and platform on diversity through cultural competency.

"My hope is people will get the message that she has that, first of all, you have to try and it's doable," says Dr. Veena Sallan of Owensboro Comm. & Technical College.

"It's not simply not opening a discussion about race, because that's hasn't proven to be effective, it's really about engaging different cultures," Davuluri adds. "Whether that be learning a different dance or talent, speaking a different language, trying different cuisines, they're are all very small things, but all of us can do in our daily lives."

As she continues her journey as Miss America, Davuluri hopes her message gets everyone to start a new journey towards better understanding.

But she wasn't originally planned to be here. Organizers say they first tried to bring the author of the book The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri, to Owensboro, but she was unavailable.
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