Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri: Syracuse, My Second Home
She travels across the country speaking to young people at universities on her college tour, but Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri came back home to Syracuse this April. She calls Central New York, her “second home.” Born in Syracuse at Crouse Hospital, Davuluri spent the first four years of her life in Fayetteville before moving to Oklahoma and then to Michigan where she went to school. However, despite spending just a few of her early years here, the cord connecting her to CNY remains intact. Her parents live in Syracuse, and she also has a number of close family and friends in the region. During her visit upstate to speak to students at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications about her vision for cultural competency, she also took time to revisit her memories of central New York and Syracuse, and why it will always have a special place in her heart.
“I’m an east coast girl through and through. I like four distinct seasons and upstate New York is beautiful.”
Davuluri gushes about how beautiful the winters here are—while sheepishly acknowledging that people who live here probably have a different view of the cold, long season. But she stands her ground pointing out that her travels around the world have proved the landscape in central New York is incredibly beautiful.
The city paints a beautiful picture in white. Every Christmas she and her sister visit family for the holidays and a highlight of the trip was riding the merry-go-round at Carousel Mall (she admits that she’s still getting used to calling it Destiny USA). Not surprisingly she loves Dinosaur BBQ and gives a special shout-out to the truffle fries at Empire at Armory Square. Green Lakes State Park is also another one of her favorite places. When it comes to the university area she concedes that this is officially the first time she has been within Syracuse University buildings with her discussion with students taking place at the Hergenhan Auditorium at the Newhouse School.
Right now, Nina is passionate about sparking a national conversation about cultural inclusiveness. She is on a university tour speaking to students across the country about cultural diversity and competency, and her time at Syracuse was a part of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at the university. In the near future she hopes to do a master’s in public policy and business administration.
“I’ve seen the CNY community develop over the years and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Davuluri, who is also committed to the education of youth with emphasis on promoting STEM programs across the nation, speaks highly of the development she has seen across the CNY region—especially within the Syracuse area—with respect to the increased number of initiatives that benefit the community at large. Say Yes to Education is one with which she is actively involved.
Further, the multi-cultural canvas of the region is something that she loves and feels that upstate New York is an extension of the melting pot that is New York City with respect to multi-cultural balance even though not many see it that way. For her, CNY goes beyond what meets the eye.
In addition to its natural beauty it is a place that weaves together people, culture and opportunities. “All the support I’ve received from the community before and after Miss America makes me feel incredibly welcome. Syracuse will always be second home to me.”