One of the first things Nina Davuluri did as Miss America 2014 was make a lip gloss for Rain Cosmetics.
She was no stranger to the chemistry of it, having studied brain, behavior and cognitive science at the University of Michigan.
"But it was a good example of how to think outside the box with STEM education," Davuluri said.
The reigning Miss America stopped at Central York High School Thursday afternoon to speak to students pursuing academic studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
"STEM isn't just about becoming a doctor or programmer. It can lead to making lip gloss and a lot of other things," she said.
Davuluri, the first Indian-American to wear the Miss America crown, also spoke about diversity and the importance of women in STEM careers.
"If more people start talking about it, we can bring it to the forefront," she said.
Davuluri has considered going to medical school, but first intends to receive her MBA, using more than $62,000 she has left from pageant scholarships.
Pageant wins also enabled her to graduate from the University of Michigan debt free.
Helping students plan: Not only did students ask about a day in the life of Miss America, many of them also discussed how they would pay for college.
"I'm super concerned. I went with Temple University because they offered me the most money and allowed me graduate with minimum debt," said senior Nitasha Agarwal.
Agarwal will attend the Philadelphia university this fall as a biology major and plans to become a radiologist.
Other students took Davuluri's advice about choosing a career path.
"She said to balance what your parents want with what you want," said Deborah Dadeboe, a freshman and aspiring writer.
Freshman Ayushi Gupta said she was also inspired by Davuluri's career advice.
"She said it's important to pick a career that's not only realistic, but one you're passionate about," said Gupta, who intends to pursue a career in engineering or the medical field. "I like that she said it's our lives and we have to make choices we can live with."
-Reach Candy Woodall at firstname.lastname@example.org.