Mitra, first Bangladeshi-American to take part in Miss USA, represented her home state of Mississippi at the pageant. Mitra is a first-generation immigrant from Bangladesh. She came to the United States in 1992 when she was 1 year old. Her family later returned to Bangladesh, but moved to Hattiesburg permanently when Mitra was 5.
Here are top 5 favourite facts about the Mississippi State University senior.
1. She wants to be an astronaut: Mitra is currently studying aerospace engineering with a minor in mathematics. One of her recent jobs was working as a researcher at MSU’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems on a NASA-funded project.
“My dream job would definitely be working at NASA or any other highly acclaimed space organization,” she told the Starkville Daily News. “I am very interested in rocketry design.”
2. She’s a huge STEM advocate: According to her official bio, “As the educational outreach co-director of The Space Cowboys, Paromita and her rocket team received 1st place in the nation from AIAA for their work with education. She has traveled to schools all over Mississippi speaking about rocketry and space topics, while implementing hands-on activities to promote science.”
3. She is well rounded: Mitra speaks 4 languages and plays the clarinet, piano, and drums.
4. She hasn’t forgotten her roots: Born in Bangladesh, Mitra moved to Mississippi with her family as a young child. “I can specifically recall not being able to speak English and pretending that I could,” Mitra recently told the Clarion Ledger.
Mitra returned to Bangladesh last summer as a volunteer with Operation Smile, a nonprofit that supports children that were born with cleft lips and cleft palettes.
5. She has a supportive family: After she won the Miss Mississippi pageant last year, her father couldn’t contain his excitement. “I was probably holding my breath at that moment and my heart was pounding,” Amal Mitra told reporters. “When I heard her name called as the winner, I jumped up and shouted loud. We had a big group of family and friends at the Harrah’s Event Center. We had a very enjoyable moment.”