GJSD graduate Miss USA ’22 Morgan Romano returns to alma mater

a woman with dark hair wars black gloves, a green dress and a tiara crown

Morgan Romano, Miss USA 2022 and 2016 graduate of the Greater Johnstown School District recently visited her alma mater and spoke to high school science students about STEM education.

Morgan Romano, Miss USA 2022, returned to her alma mater this week to visit with high school science students at Johnstown High School. She graduated from GJSD in 2016 as part of a class that JHS principal Scott Hale called an incredibly smart and driven group of “high-flying” students. Romano attended the University of South Carolina where she obtained a Bachelors of Science in chemical engineering in 2020. She currently works as a contractor for R.E. Mason in Charlotte, NC, working on control systems and reliability for specialty chemical and pharmaceutical companies.

While meeting with students, Miss Romano discussed her own time as a student in Johnstown, saying that it helped shape her childhood and provided a solid foundation as she moved away from her hometown to attend college in a state that was hundreds of miles away.

Before leaving to go to college, Romano said she had never really left Johnstown – “except maybe once a year to Florida.” But since then, she’s had the opportunity to travel all around the country and make friends from all over the world. Her experience as Miss USA gave her the opportunity to travel to every U.S. state except Alaska and meet people from all different geographic regions of the country. 

Romano is a first generation college graduate in her family. She credited her guidance counselor at JHS, Mr. Jeff Blacha, with helping her through the process of getting into college, applying for financial aid, applying for scholarships, helping her better understand what to expect when she went to college and what it would even be like to live in a dorm. 

“People want to see you succeed – you just have to seek it out,” she told JHS students. She encouraged students to utilize the resources around them – teachers, guidance counselors, their principal, and even their friends – because those are the people who truly want the best for them and want them to succeed.

Romano has a passion for STEM education for children and spends her free time volunteering with Project Scientist, an after-school program that provides a high quality STEM curriculum to young girls.

During her visit at Johnstown, Romano continued to promote STEM education and STEM-related career paths like coding, gaming, architecture, science, medicine, law, and much, much more.

a woman in a white dress takes a selfie with a group of students behind herIn her current position as a chemical engineer, Romano told students that the workforce in her company is made up of a majority of men, purely based on the fact that fewer women enter STEM careers than men do. Romano strongly encouraged young female science students in the crowd to consider STEM careers, explaining that companies want to hire more women in the field. She also explained the importance of having both men and women together in the workplace, explaining that women often bring different experiences, communication styles, and skills to the table.

Another important message that Romano brought to Johnstown students was the importance of persevering through trying times, and being disciplined to reach your goals to be successful. “Success doesn’t even mean money,” Romano said. “It means stability, and the ability and freedom to move anywhere you want to pursue your career and live your life.”

a woman in a white dress poses next to a man wearing a suit a woman wearing a white dress talks to a young female student a woman takes a picture of another woman wearing a white dress, posing with three high school aged girls a woman wearing a white dress poses with a high school aged female student 

Romano is insistent that she didn’t become a chemical engineer, or be crowned Miss USA, because she was “the best.” She attributes the successes she’s had, and the life she lives now, to hard work. 

“I’ve always tried to be the hardest working person in the room,” she told students, as she recounted her own story of competing an unprecedented seven times before finally winning a Miss North Carolina title.

Romano’s visit to Johnstown High School was made possible through the Johnstown Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA).

a woman in a white dress sits in a high top chair and speaks to a room full of students

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