While Neha Arora, of Madison, Mississippi, who was selected as the “Distinguished Young Woman of Mississippi” in 2016, did not win the “Distinguished Young Women of America 2017” pageant, she did walk away with two honors at the 60th annual event that combines the chance to win college scholarships and life skill lessons for high-school girls.
Arora was among eight finalists who were granted a scholarship of $2,500 at the event, held in Mobile, Ala., June 29-July 1, which saw Skye Borg, of District of Columbia, emerge as the winner. During the program, the contestants competed in talent, fitness and self-expression rounds. For her creative answer, Arora also won the self-expression round and a $1,000 scholarship. Arora’s question was, “What is the most vital issue facing young women today?”
“I spoke about the importance of women getting involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics for my answer,” Arora was quoted as saying by jacksonfreepress.com. “I talked about how my mom completed medical school in Russia and came to America alone to work in the medical field, which is something that sets a great example for women looking to enter STEM fields. I think today’s society doesn’t encourage women enough to enter those fields, and I think women should have more opportunities available to them and seek them out.”
Arora’s mother, Namita Arora, is a psychiatrist at Warren Yazoo Behavioral Health in Yazoo City, and her father, Sumesh Arora, is the state energy officer for the Mississippi Development Authority, according to the website. Her parents were both born in India and immigrated to the United States.
Arora told jacksonfreepress.com that her mother’s example inspired her to become a physician herself and motivated her to attend Emory University this fall. From there, she plans on continuing her education at medical school to study pediatrics.
“I was lucky to be able to go to a high school that gave me opportunities to engage in research and pursue a career in STEM fields,” she said. “However, a lot of women don’t get that kind of opportunity, and that kind of interest isn’t as likely to develop. I think women shouldn’t be intimidated to go into these kinds of often male-dominated fields, and I think being around the many capable and talented women involved in the Distinguished Young Women program is a great way for women to discover opportunities and pursue the career they want.”