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Miss Indiana USA using platform to raise STEM awareness for women

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — When A’Niyah Birdsong heard her name called as the winner of the 2021 Miss Indiana USA, it was a moment that almost didn’t seem real.

“I felt like time was still,” she said. The Anderson native proudly wore her hometown across her chest during competition. “It’s starting to sink in,” she said. “I’m starting to really move in my passion and really my purpose of winning this title.”

Birdsong admits this didn’t always seem possible. “Honestly when I was going after the title of Miss Indiana USA, I’d never seen a Miss Indiana in my life,” she said.

Her love for science set her apart from the pack. With a love for science technology, engineering and math, she considers herself to be a STEMinist. Ultimately, that passion became the platform she’s now using to get more young women into the industry. When it came down to the talent portion of the Miss Indiana competition, she wanted to give the judges a performance to remember.

“You’ve prepped way to long to be stressed out,” she told herself. “Just have fun at this point.”

She used what she knew best.

“I wasn’t a traditional tapper or singer or an artist in that way,” she said. “I did a chemistry experiment: an elephant toothpaste reaction. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but it’s like a big explosion on stage.”

Birdsong stayed true to the passion that got her there in the first place, making it a testimony to young girls who may find themselves trying to fit in.

“You don’t have to fit a certain dynamic or a certain outline to be able to step into what is important to you.”

Birdsong also started an initiative called “Dare to Disrupt.” It’s about challenging the status quo and putting more women in leadership roles where they can be in a position to be innovators.

She will compete for the Miss USA title in November. Click here to support and follow her journey.

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