By. Anuradha

We all have seen many beauty pageants where the pretty girls are crowned with different titles. Most of the times, their skin, hair, height, and similar assets are being evaluated and the girl who possess the best features generally wins the title. But recently, 24-year-old biochemist Camille Schrier proved that beauty along with wisdom can challenge anything. she won the Miss Virginia title not only because of her beauty but by performing a science experiment onstage!

Virginia beauty pageant contestant Camille Schrier showed a rather unusual talent for these kinds of shows.

Image credits: John Herzog / Miss Virginia

Most of the times, the ‘talents’ that we naturally see in these pageants vary from singing to pulling a rabbit out of a hat. But when Ms. Schrier stepped on to the stage in her lab coat and goggles, everyone knew that something else was going to happen. She demonstrated a catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide and the judge board was amazed! At the end of her experiment, a blue and an orange foam were which is known as the ‘Elephant Toothpaste reaction’ was produced and the crowd was truly impressed.

Image credits: Rick Myers / Miss Virginia

She proved that social appearance itself won’t create a true personality and speaking to IFLScience, she said that,

“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”.

“I am more than Miss Virginia. I am Miss Biochemist, Miss Systems Biologist, Miss Future PharmD looking toward a pharmaceutical industry career.”

She also won the pageant: #MissAmerica #FuturePharmacist 

Image credits: Camille Schrier

Rather than the patronizing swimsuit competition, competitors in Miss America 2.0 will now spend more time highlighting their achievements and goals. Dress codes have moved on from the traditional evening gowns, with candidates allowed to choose clothing that expresses who they really are.

According to its website, Miss America now aims to be more inclusive to women rather than fitting into predefined stereotypes.

Image credits: John Herzog / Miss Virginia

The chair of the Board of Trustees Gretchen Carlson said that We are no longer a pageant. Miss America will represent a new generation of female leaders focused on scholarship, social impact, talent, and empowerment”

“We’re experiencing a cultural revolution in our country with women finding the courage to stand up and have their voices heard on many issues. Miss America is proud to evolve as an organization and join this empowerment movement.”

Image credits: Camille Schrier

Camille will now represent Virginia in the nationwide competition, will be a strong candidate for the first ‘Miss America 2.0.’ She has dual Bachelor of Science degrees from Virginia Tech in Biochemistry and Systems Biology and is currently studying a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree at Virginia Commonwealth University.

She chose to do the science experiment as her talent because she wants to get others excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.

Image credits: Camille Schrier

I’m trying to be like Bill Nye,” she said in a university blog. “That’s what I’m going for. I want to get kids excited, but I don’t want it to be boring.”

This kind of awareness and encouragement for girls to get into science and engineering is important because the field is still dominated by men. Currently, 81% of the degrees earned in engineering in the U.S. go to males, despite girls and boys having no significant difference in their abilities in mathematics and science.

So it seems that Ms. Schrier’s victory was also a victory for science. Let’s hope it inspires many young girls to follow in her footsteps and be inspired to challenge themselves at the highest levels of scientific research!

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