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Miss Asia USA Hopes to Expand STEM Literacy

First published in the Jan. 12 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.

Ariana Pineda, former Westridge student from Pasadena who is currently a biomedical engineering student at Northwestern University, was recently crowned Miss Asia USA 2023.
As part of her platform, Pineda is using her title to promote STEM literacy in women and girls.
Pineda has always been passionate about using science, technology and engineering to build projects that solve issues in her community.
Growing up, she was heavily influenced by the impact of gout, a form of arthritis, on her family. This inspired her to start Purity, a free diet-management app for gout sufferers to track their daily purine intake. Pineda’s project has already made a difference in the lives of thousands of gout-sufferers and is currently the highest-rated app for gout.
In addition to her work with Purity, Pineda is also the founder of EntrepreneuHER, an international all-female STEM and entrepreneurship conference, which aims to increase the representation of women in STEM fields and provide support and mentorship to girls interested in impacting their community.

Photo courtesy Pineda family
Biomedical engineering scholar Ariana Pineda, a Pasadena resident and former Westridge student, was recently crowned Miss Asia USA.

“I want to show girls that using STEM to build things that create real impact on real people can be truly exciting,” said Pineda, 19. “I want to be a role model and encourage more young girls to keep creating. I want to help more girls become the real changemakers of this generation.”
Through EntrepreneuHER, she has organized workshops and events to teach girls about different STEM careers and provide them with the resources and support they need to start their own businesses.
“I’ve seen so many girls who were once unsure of themselves use their passions for technology to build incredible things like COVID-tracing apps and autonomous medical delivery robots during the conference,” Pineda said. “It’s been such a rewarding experience.”
In addition to her work in STEM education and advocacy, Pineda is also a researcher. She has co-written multiple papers on prostate cancer, which have been featured in Nature Communications and the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
As Miss Asia USA, Pineda plans to continue promoting STEM literacy and Purity on a larger scale. She hopes to use her platform to inspire more young girls to pursue careers in STEM and to break down the barriers that often prevent women from entering these fields.
“There are still so many stereotypes and biases that hold women back in STEM,” Pineda said. “I want to use my title to challenge those biases and empower girls in these fields.”

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