A 24-year-old biochemist won the Miss Virginia pageant this week after showing off her skills in a science experiment.
While many people might think pageants are all about the beauty and glamour, Camille Schrier is proving the talent section of the competition can go far beyond dancing or singing, by bringing a science laboratory to the stage instead and doing away with tired stereotypes.
The 24-year-old donned a white lab coat as she unveiled her experiment. Demonstrating the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, known as the ‘elephant toothpaste reaction’ in which streams of foam shoot out of cylinders, the explosive results obviously made an impression on the judges.
Schrier told the Richmond Times-Dispatch, via INSIDER:
We are typically an organization that sees people that are fabulous dancers and really talented singers use that as their talent, and so for me to come out there and take a risk and do a science demonstration was very different.
As someone who is breaking the boundaries and breaking stereotypes for what talent looks like at Miss America, I wanted to be a little out of the box, and it really worked out.
Schrier’s old university, Virgina Tech – where she earned a dual degree in biochemistry and systems biology – tweeted their congratulations too.
— Virginia Tech (@virginia_tech) June 25, 2019
While Virginia Commonwealth University, where the 24-year-old is currently studying for a doctor of pharmacy degree, also tweeted the new Miss Virginia after her win, including a video of the chemical reaction she displayed on stage.
You can watch it here:
Watch #VCUPharmacy student Camille Schrier wow the judges for Miss Virginia with her talent performance — the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide!
— VCU School of Pharmacy (@VCUPharmacy) June 26, 2019
Since her win, Schrier said she plans to spend the next year travelling and advocating for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, drug safety and abuse prevention, as well as promoting the work of Mind Your Meds, a drug safety programme.
She has also announced she will be taking her crown to the Miss America pageant in September.
View this post on Instagram
Have you ever had your entire life change in one instant? Last night, mine did, as I was crowned Miss Virginia 2019. I can’t even say that I’ve dreamt of this moment…because I never thought this was possible even in my wildest dreams. I am so excited to spend the next year traveling our commonwealth advocating for STEM education & drug safety and abuse prevention. Oh, and I’m going to MISS AMERICA! I’m overwhelmed with so many messages of support, and truly could not be more grateful. Follow my year as Miss Virginia at @missamericava!
Writing on Instagram, Camille said:
Have you ever had your entire life change in one instant? Last night, mine did, as I was crowned Miss Virginia 2019. I can’t even say that I’ve dreamt of this moment… because I never thought this was possible even in my wildest dreams.
I am so excited to spend the next year traveling our commonwealth advocating for STEM education & drug safety and abuse prevention. Oh, and I’m going to MISS AMERICA! I’m overwhelmed with so many messages of support, and truly could not be more grateful.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.