Crowned as Miss Virginia 2019, inspiring biochemist performs science experiment as her talent in beauty pageant

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We often see contestants performing dance, singing, or play an instrument during the talent section of a beauty pageant, but Camille Schrier is not your average contestant.

She chose to perform a chemistry experiment onstage for the talent portion of the Miss Virginia competition. Thanks to the experiment known as the ‘elephant toothpaste’ reaction that resulted in an explosion of fascinating giant colorful foam, the young lady won her title and crowned as Miss Virginia 2019 on June 22.

The 24-year-old Camille Schrier decided that she’s not going to perform traditional talents such as singing or dancing.

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It has been 6 years since I stepped on stage, and with only 3 weeks preparation, I decided to participate in my first Miss America local…and SURPRISE!!! I am your new Miss Dominion 2019, and will be competing for the prestigious title of Miss Virginia this June! Everything came together in gods plan, and with many people to thank! First, the biggest THANK YOU to Maria-Teresa Duvall @mtgduvall (@pageants2go) for entertaining my crazy and spontaneous idea, lending me your wardrobe, and helping me with every aspect of my preparations. I am so grateful for your mentorship and friendship and I absolutely COULD NOT have done this without you. Mom & Dad, thanks for supporting me regardless of what I choose to do (and not thinking I’m absolutely insane). I’m so grateful for your guidance and love and am so happy you were able to be here to share this with me! Alayna @alaynawestcom, thank you for helping me with talent details and being so willing to answer my questions. Faith @faithdrumheller_, thanks for being my right-hand girl, lab assistant and wardrobe zipper! Special shout-out to Brandon @drummer1397 for being my photographer and part of my cheering section! Chip, thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent the Old Dominion state! I cannot wait to spend my year advocating for Mind your Meds and teaching kids about how cool science is! MISS VIRGINIA HERE WE COME! 👑

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Schrier’s experiment shows the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide using potassium iodide as a catalyst.

Safety first! She was clad in a white lab coat and safety goggles too.

It all started when the young contestant gave up her pageantry career to pursue a STEM career at Virginia Tech. Decided to prioritize school, Schrier successfully graduated with degrees in biochemistry and systems biology in 2018.

She is currently pursuing a doctor of pharmacy degree at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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It’s officially Miss Virginia month! As the competition approaches, I’ll be posting about my journey to Lynchburg and some fun facts so you can get to know me! #DAY1: One word to describe me is focused. I am a graduate of Virginia Tech with two bachelors degrees in Biochemistry and Systems Biology, and am currently pursuing my doctor of Pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University with plans to work in the pharmaceutical industry after graduation. Being enrolled full-time in graduate level science courses, participating in extra curricular activities, maintaining a healthy lifestyle AND preparing for Miss Virginia puts a LOT on my plate. I’ve learned to plan ahead, and stay FOCUSED on what’s important so that I can work to achieve the MANY goals I’ve set for myself in various parts of my life. #whyicompete @missamericava #missamerica #missamericava #missvirginia #missdominion #sweepspageant #MAO #theresheis

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With all her involvement in STEM, Schrier didn’t lose her passion towards the beauty pageant industry. So last year she decided to reenter the pageant scene—but brought along her expert area with her.

She took the risk by choosing an unusual talent, but she’s glad that she did it.

Because she was crowned as the winner thanks to that!

“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,” told Schrier to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“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.”

Overwhelmed by emotions and shocked when she was discovered as a winner, Schrier fell to the floor and cried.

Schrier during her winning moment.

She’s also been pleasantly surprised by all the positive feedback surrounding her win and the unforgettable chemistry experiment.

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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

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“I expected to hear some feedback saying that my talent wasn’t really a talent. But I will tell you, I was overwhelmed with messages saying how cool my talent was, how refreshing it was and how everyone was impressed that I was able to tie education and science into something that was also entertaining,” told Schrier to the Virginia Commonwealth University blog.

“I truly am a woman of science—that’s my career. So I want to be able to break those barriers and to really inspire young women and men to follow this path if that’s something that they’re passionate about.”

“They can look to me and say OK, she’s a woman who is able to be successful in an organization like the Miss America organization, but she’s also a scientist.”

Schrier’s going to return to VCU to finish up her pharmacy degree and will compete in the Miss America pageant in September.

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