By Ben Ginsburg '17
It might be easy for someone as successful as Sabina Chaudhuri ’15 to rest on her laurels – or more appropriately, her crowns. But as the winner of the 2017 Miss Silicon Valley Pageant (part of the Miss Santa Clara Organization and the Miss America Organization), and with eyes on the Miss California pageant at the end of June, Chaudhuri has taken it upon herself to use her prominence to showcase leaders in service to her community.
“It’s all about leading by example,” said Chaudhuri, a CAAA member. “I’ve created an online ‘Crownmunity,’ where I highlight individuals who may not be crowned, but who are doing great things. I want people to see these inspiring individuals and go out and do great things of their own.”
The Crownmunity page on her website features stories of these leaders who “wear a metaphorical crown to symbolize how they find their voice and follow their passions.” Examples of these leaders include several UC Davis alumni, including Christina Chin ’09, who pioneered the university model of Girls Who Code; Lyndon Huling ’07, student activities coordinator for the UC Davis Center for Student Involvement; Erin Opray ’16, a composer who explores the connections between two male-dominated fields of music and technology; and Imaan Taghavi ’15, founder of the Omni Movement for social dancing.
Inspired by technology and community
“At UC Davis, I met amazing people who were passionate about a variety of fields, and I learned to love their passions.”
With two older sisters and a twin brother, much of Chaudhuri’s childhood was grounded in sharing and teamwork. She also grew up largely without technology like cell phones, and she feels that this upbringing has helped her appreciate its potential to connect people, while also allowing her to easily disconnect and focus on in-person interactions.
Chaudhuri loved her four years at UC Davis, where she was significantly involved with university activities. She was president of the Indian Students Association by her junior year and joined the co-ed business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi. She worked for the Cal Aggie Alumni Association, the Center for Student Involvement, the scholarship office in the Chemistry Annex, the Engineering Student Startup Center, Women Now TV, the Dean’s Office for the College of Engineering, and even more positions than can be listed here. All of these jobs helped her grow out of her comfort zone and develop new skills, and put her in contact with fascinating people.
“At UC Davis, I met amazing people who were passionate about a variety of fields, and I learned to love their passions,” Chaudhuri said. “While I was working for Student Startups as a market analyst, I got interested in technology and how it can solve so many problems.”
Chaudhuri was hired by Cisco Systems at a UC Davis career fair, after meeting a fellow Aggie who was recruiting for the tech company. As a business strategy analyst, she focuses on ways to improve information technology and connect people with each other around the world.
Journey to the crown
“They say it takes a village, and I’m very grateful to have this community of passionate people, including the Cal Aggie Alumni Association, supporting me.”
In 2016, Chaudhuri was working as the director of Miss CEO, a mentoring program to help girls build leadership skills, when a friend encouraged her to participate in the Miss America Organization. Next thing she knew, she was entering her local competition.
“I talked to my twin brother about it, and he said ‘Why not?’” Chaudhuri explained. “There’s a short window of opportunity because you age out at 24; so he told me that if I miss it, I would regret it, but I could at least try and see what happens.”
Chaudhuri won the title of Miss Silicon Valley and will proceed to the Miss California pageant at the end of this month (vote here by June 30). In the meantime, she has used her platform of “Raise Your Voice: Women’s Empowerment” to promote nine other community leaders, including four UC Davis alumni. This project is part of Sabina’s Year of Service, which all victors of the Miss America local pageants participate in.
“They say it takes a village, and I’m very grateful to have this community of passionate people, including the Cal Aggie Alumni Association, supporting me,” she said.
For more on Chaudhuri’s story, visit www.sabinachaudhuri.com or follow her on social media at