Shivali Kadam is a woman of many talents. Born in Mumbai, India, she immigrated to the U.S. with her parents at the age of four, and spent the early part of her childhood hopping around the Midwest before ultimately settling in Oregon, land of rain and forests. Later in life, she would go on to win the title of Miss Oregon, a talent competition that earned her a spot in the Miss America contest.
But being on stage is just one facet of Kadam’s multi-dimensional life and character — she is also a process engineer with a degree in chemical engineering.
As a child, Kadam never expected herself to pursue a career in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. A shy bookworm in her youth, she gained confidence and became more extroverted by high school, where Kadam participated in theater, choir, and even landed a role in the school musical.
During her early education, Kadam struggled with math and deemed a career in STEM out of her grasp. In college, she initially pursued an English major, and recalls believing that you either understand engineering, or you do not have the capability.
Kadam reflects on the fact that women are often...
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