On Thursday, Miss Virginia Camille Schrier was crowned Miss America 2020. The pageant aired live from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on NBC.
With her passion for science, Schrier hopes to change what it means to be a beauty queen.
Here’s what we know about her:
1. She Has a Dual Bachelor of Science Degree from Virginia Tech
Schrier honed her passion for science at Virginia Tech. There, she earned degrees in Biochemistry and Systems Biology, minored in Chemistry, and graduated Cum Laude.
After she was crowned Miss Virginia this summer, Schrier spoke to her university’s newspaper about what it was like to win. She shared, “It’s been crazy… It’s been a wild ride.” Schrier added that after the competition, she was escorted to a car by security guards. “I felt like the president,” she told the newspaper with a laugh.
Schrier has certainly made a name for herself in the world of pageantry. In a press statement, she said, “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.”
2. She Is Studying to Get Her Doctor of Pharmacy Degree
Today, Schrier is earning her doctorate at Virginia Commonwealth University. She hopes to obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree.
She tells CNN, “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.”
3. She Performed a Science Experiment of the Catalytic Decomposition of Hydrogen Peroxide for Her Talent
Schrier certainly has an unconventional talent.
For the talent portion of Miss America, she demonstrated the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, which occurs when hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with a catalyst like potassium iodide. She tells BBC, “It took a little creativity for me to find a way that I could represent the talents I have in a way that was entertaining because sometimes people have this perception that science is boring.”
Discussing the details of her talent performance with BBC, Schrier said, “I actually used dish soap (washing-up liquid to us Brits) in my beakers so the gas gets trapped, and that’s what forms that foam that shoots out … that’s really the show-stopping moment of my reaction… Even my competitors were eager to watch what I was going to do. It was a fun moment to hear the cheers from people in the audience.”
4. She Has Been Taking Part in Pageant Competitions Since She Was a Teenager
Schrier has been involved in pageants since she was 14.
She shares with the VCU News that she was always an athletic kid, and never a “girly-girl.” She says her love for science started in an eighth-grade science class.
It wasn’t until Schrier learned that the Miss America organization had eliminated the swimsuit competition and started focusing on social impact that she decided to give Miss Virginia a go. When she took home the crown, she also took home $22,000 in scholarship money.
Speaking about her career in pageantry, Schrier says, “It taught me a lot about being professional … in terms of just being able to prepare a resume, go into an interview confidently, and how to prepare for something like that.”
For her work as Miss Virginia, Shrier has visited school assemblies, classrooms, children’s hospitals, veterans hospitals, and served as a special guest.
5. Her Campaign Platform Is STEM Awareness & Drug Safety
Achrier’s platform issue for the Miss America competition was STEM awareness and drug safety. She tells the VCU News, “I’m trying to be like Bill Nye [the science guy],” she said. “That’s what I’m going for. I want to get kids excited, but I don’t want it to be boring.”
She adds on to BBC, “I’m hoping to use this throughout the United States to get young people, especially young girls, interested in STEM and STEM careers, and hopefully be a role model for them. Also to encourage both young girls and young men to be themselves and not change who they are for any situation that they feel like they need to fit in a box.”
Heading into her tenure as Miss America, Schrier has changed the game when it comes to the world of pageantry. She tells CTV News, “I think that there’s a perception of what women that compete in organizations like this, what we look like and what we sound like, so I want to be that groundbreaker, who goes out and surprises everyone, and says, I’m a woman of science, an academic-focused person, but I still see myself in an organization like this. There’s no reason that you can’t do both, so that’s absolutely part of why I did this.”