Evening Gown, Swimsuit — and Science

Recent NYU-Poly grad Joy Ramsaywack has found a novel route to get the word out about the importance of science. She is one of 150 young women selected, out of thousands of entries, to compete in the Miss New York USA Pageant. “My goal is to inspire young women to pursue the science and technology industries. They don’t need to be intimidated in male-dominated fields.” The idea to enter the pageant was her parents’, she says. “Until recently I was too shy, but now I want to encourage girls to go into fields they might not think of.”

always knew she wanted to help people, so she studied nursing until it became clear it wasn’t right for her. Luckily, she was taking flying lessons at the time, and found that she loved studying the principles of fluid mechanics. So her college advisor suggested she take a physics course “and I fell in love.” When she thinks how easy it would have been to not have found her passion, she is more determined than ever to convince people — especially females — to study science.

“Science revolutionizes our lives,” she says. “Once you understand how the world around you works, you can come up with countless ways to make it better for yourself and others — that’s exactly what engineers and scientists do.”

Joy, now 24, was born in Guyana, South America, moving to New York City when she was a year old. She currently lives with her family in Nassau County. She earned a BS in mechanical engineering from NYU-Poly in May 2010 — graduating with 43 students in her field, only three of them women. (Nonetheless, NYU-Poly has one of the country’s highest percentage of women in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.) In January, she’ll start a job at a nuclear power plant. As the lead organizer of an NYU-Poly Engineers Without Borders project in El Salvador, Joy helped design and build a system for wastewater treatment. She also helped found NYU-Poly’s Engineers Without Borders chapter.

Joy will be competing in the preliminary pageant in November. NYU-Poly is among her sponsors, who help in defraying her expenses. If you are interested in sponsoring Joy, learn more by emailing her at