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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Indian-origin New Yorker crowned Miss America 2014

An cognitive science graduate from New York has become the first beauty of Indian origin to become Miss America.

Nina Davuluri, 24, impressed judges with a fusion Bollywood dance number at the glittering annual beauty pageant held this year in Atlantic City, New Jersey after nine years in Las Vegas.

"I was the first Indian Miss New York, and I'm so proud to be the first Indian Miss America," Ms Davuluri said after she won.

Born and raised in Fayetteville in upstate New York, Ms Davuluri was on the dean's list and earned the Michigan Merit Award and National Honor Society nods while studying at the University of Michigan, where she graduated with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science.

Her father, who emigrated from India 30 years ago, is a gynecologist, and Davuluri said she'd like to become a physician one day as well.

"During her year as Miss America she will serve as spokesperson for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) this year as she travels to Washington, D.C., to work with the Department of Education," according to a Miss America statement.

She also is passionate about healthy lifestyles after battling obesity and bulimia when she was younger.

Davuluri's platform was "Celebrating Diversity Through Cultural Competency."

For the talent portion of the competition, she performed a dance number that incorporated Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam and Bollywood dance influences.

Despite a night of firsts, a tired theme emerged following Davuluri's victory: Racists took to Twitter to lambaste the pageant for picking an Indian-American.

They were none too kind to Davuluri herself, either, with one particularly uninformed tweeter calling her a Muslim.

Something similar happened when Rima Fakih was crowned Miss USA in 2010.

Fakih is of Lebanese descent, and many were quick to try to link her to the militant group Hezbollah.

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