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Concord native who won Miss USA breaking stereotypes and making a difference

From educating girls about the importance of STEM programs to supporting efforts to provide free cleft surgery and care, Romano is making history.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As we celebrate Women's History Month, we reflect on how women have fought for change, equality and justice over time. 

But women are making history every day. That's why Miss USA Morgan Romano, a Concord native who lives in Charlotte, is making a difference and breaking stereotypes facing young women. 

Romano was crowned Miss USA in January, taking over for R'Bonney Gabriel, who was crowned Miss Universe 2022.

READ MORE: Concord native crowned Miss USA

Before being crowned Miss USA, Romano was a chemical engineer in Charlotte. She earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of South Carolina. Romano's passion for science and learning defines her platform. Her main goal is to empower and educate young girls about the importance of women in STEM. 

WCNC Charlotte spoke with Romano about her work in the community.

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"I became Miss USA in February, and I was Miss North Carolina USA prior to that," Romano said. "My whole goal this year and what I want to achieve is to advocate for women in STEM and STEM at a younger age because that's how we really can start to change the storyline of women in STEM and start to close that gender gap."

Romano also works with Project Scientist, a Charlotte nonprofit that works to give girls in Charlotte access to STEM resources.

"Project Scientist helps girls have access to STEM boxes and stem experiments," Romano said. "It's an after-school program. So students who wouldn't be able to have that opportunity in school can get that outside of the classroom."

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Romano also works with Smile Train, a nonprofit that works globally to provide free and comprehensive cleft care for children, and how cleft care dramatically improves the lives of children. Recently, Romano and Faron Medhi, the current Miss Teen USA, joined forces to host Bowl for a Cause to raise awareness and educate the public about clefts.

Smile Train, Romano and Medhi also teamed up with Dahlia Nixon, a 13-year-old who was born with a cleft lip and palette for Bowl for a Cause. The event, held in Yonkers, NY on March 5, was held to bring awareness, educate and raise funds for babies that are born with clefts.

Credit: Smile Train

"Her story is so powerful. So I got to meet her in person last night and meet her mom and they shared their testimony at the event and it was so moving
and so incredible," Romano said about meeting Dahlia Nixon at Bowling for a Cause. "So I'm really thankful for the personnel train for giving us those connections and the opportunity to meet incredible families like them who are doing so much work in their community to change lives and to change the narrative about cleft palate and working with Smile Train."

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Romano is looking forward to using her platform to continue advocating for girls in STEM and educating the public on the importance of comprehensive cleft care for children around the world.

WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to newstips@wcnc.com.

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