24-year-old PhD candidate Camille Schrier is passionate about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. For this reason, the Miss Virginia contestant — who has a dual Bachelor of Science degrees from Virginia Tech in Biochemistry and System Biology — did away with pageant norms and demonstrated the “catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide” experiment onstage. After impressing the judges and crowd, she was crowned Miss Virginia 2019.
View this post on Instagram
Miss Virginia Social Media Challenge #DAY4 | I’m working to redefine what we think of as a talent. I’ve been passionate about science since I was a little girl, and have dedicated years to learning and understanding scientific concepts. I’m excited to be performing my unique scientific talent on the Miss Virginia stage, and hope to encourage others to embrace and love their natural talents, and to stay true to who they are! #whyicompete @missamericava #missamerica #missamericava #missvirginia #missdominion #sweepspageant #MAO #theresheis
Miss VA reports that Schrier, who is studying to obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree at Virginia Commonwealth University, took everyone by surprise during the talent portion of the competition. Unlike the other competitors, the biochemist donned a lab coat and safety goggles for her performance.
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) 26 June 2019
“The evolution of the Miss America competition, which reflects greater inclusiveness, and an opportunity to make a difference and win scholarships inspired me to step forward this year and compete,” said Schrier in a statement emailed to IFLScience. “I am more than Miss Virginia. I am Miss Biochemist, Miss Systems Biologist, Miss Future PharmD looking toward a pharmaceutical industry career. Now was the time for me to create a mind shift about the concept of talent by bringing my passion for STEM to the stage. To me, talent is not a passion alone, but also a skill which is perfected over years of learning.”
The catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide is an experiment many people might remember from grade school. When potassium iodide (KI) is added to a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and dish soap, giant spurts of foam occur. (See the instructions for yourself here.) The experiment might be basic, but it is captivating.
Schrier was chosen out of 24 contests for the statewide competition. She won more than $21,000 of $75,000 in scholarship money. For the next year, she will tour the state and share her platform of STEM awareness, drug safety, and abuse prevention. Afterwards, she will go on to represent the Commonwealth of Virginia at the Miss America Pageant.
View this post on Instagram
Miss Virginia Social Media Challenge #DAY2 The four points of the Miss America Crown stand for Style, Success, Service and Scholarship. As a scientist, lover of learning, and current graduate student, scholarship is extremely important to me. One of my biggest scholastic achievements thus far was completing my independent senior research thesis during my final year at Virginia Tech. The title of my project was “A Simple Model for Sense and Antisense RNA Interactions in the Mammalian Circadian Clock” where I worked in a research lab and collaborated with multiple professors to develop a mathematical model for RNA interactions in the circadian rhythm. This project required a tremendous amount of time and energy, and helped me to grow as both a researcher and a student. Tomorrow, I will be starting a new research fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University, and look forward to future research projects throughout my academic career! #whyicompete @missamericava #missamerica #missamericava #missvirginia #missdominion #sweepspageant #MAO #theresheis
“Every day, more than 130 Americans die of an opioid overdose and every eight minutes a caregiver makes a medication error that impacts a child. It’s time to do more about drug safety and abuse prevention,” said Schrier.
What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!