Las Vegas: A 25-year-old scientist hailing from the District of Columbia bagged the crown for the title of Miss USA on Sunday. This is the second consecutive year that the contestant from the nation’s capital won the annual beauty pageant.

Kara McCullough holds a degree in chemistry and works at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She won ahead of 50 other contestants, including the first runner-up from New Jersey, Chhavi Verg, claiming victory over all in the contest which took place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The pageant’s second runner-up and finalist was Meridith Gould, representing Minnesota.

In a final round of questions fired at the three finalists towards the end of the competition, McCullough was asked about healthcare rights, to which she replied that affordable healthcare was ‘a privilege for people who held jobs.’

Her response drew some fiery backlash and criticism on social media platforms such as Twitter, but supporters of her argument also went on defending her statements made.

McCullough took a few more hits for saying that she does not categorize herself as a feminist, preferring ‘equalism’ over the staunch school of thought, followed by a statement saying, “Women, we are just as equal as men, especially in the workplace.

McCollough will head on to compete as the US representative at the Miss Universe pageant held annually as the biggest beauty contest in the world.