McCollough was born in Italy and raised in Virginia. After winning the event, McCollough gave a statement, saying, "I love science. I look at this as a great opportunity to get to experience worldwide culture, as well as just having the opportunity to be impacted by so many children, hopefully in the math and sciences.
The question that sealed the deal for McCollough was related to if she feels that healthcare for United States citizens is a right or privilege. McCollough said she thinks it's a privilege because she sees "firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs."