Miss Chicago Chinatown uses platform to promote girls in STEM
Bioengineering student Christine Vi is busy preparing for the end of the semester and post-graduation plans. Unlike her peers, however, she’s also preparing for her next big pageant as Miss Chicago Chinatown.
Her fondness for beauty pageants and science both are the result of long-held interests and aspirations from childhood.
“When I was little, I would always look at the Miss Chicago Chinatown on the float, and since then, I had always wanted to do beauty pageants,” said Vi, a senior. She didn’t consider participating until a friend she had met through her bioengineering courses mentioned the opportunity to her.
Since winning her title, Vi has participated in events organized by the Chinese American Civic Council, such as a dinners and parades where Vi has inspired young girls.
“It was great to talk with them so that I could push them to think about more than just beauty pageants. I use this as an outlet to promote girls in STEM,” she said.
With a concentration in cell and tissue, Vi explores her interest in robotic prosthetics.
“I always loved engineering within biological systems, so I can still help people without going down the medical route,” Vi said.
Vi joked that she balances her hectic full-time school schedule and fulfilling her duties as Miss Chicago Chinatown with no sleep.
“I just make sure none of the schedules conflict, and school always comes first,” she said.
Vi will maintain her title throughout the next year, and represent Chicago at Miss Chinatown in early 2017.
As for her bioengineering career plans, she plans to work at a manufacturing company to explore the world of electronics and robotics in relation to health care.
“I can use that experience later in life to maybe open my own practice or company,” Vi said.