- Camille Schrier, a biochemist, won the Miss Virginia pageant on June 22 after performing a chemistry experiment during the talent portion of the competition.
- She demonstrated the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, culminating in a colorful explosion of foam.
- An advocate for women in STEM, Schrier is pursuing a doctor of pharmacy degree at Virginia Commonwealth University.
- Schrier will go on to compete in the Miss America pageant in September.
The 24-year-old biochemist demonstrated the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, known as the "elephant toothpaste" reaction because of the streams of foam that shoot out of the graduated cylinders as a result of the catalyzed reaction. She replaced her pageant dress with a lab coat and safety goggles, though she still kept her high heels.
Many contestants sing, dance, or play an instrument for the talent portion of pageants. Schrier told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that she knew her unconventional talent was a risk but was thrilled that it paid off.
Schrier was crowned Miss Virginia. John Herzog/Miss Virginia
"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," she told the newspaper. "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."
Virginia Tech, where Schrier earned dual degrees in biochemistry and systems biology, tweeted its congratulations.
Virginia Commonwealth University, where Schrier is earning her doctor of pharmacy degree, also celebrated her win on Twitter.Congratulations to @vtbiochem alumna, Camille Schrier, who was crowned Miss Virginia 2019 on Saturday! 🎉 👑 #WomeninSTEM 💪 https://t.co/YgAyNekOyN— Virginia Tech (@virginia_tech) June 25, 2019
Schrier plans to use her platform as Miss Virginia to advocate for women in STEM and promote the work of Mind Your Meds, a drug-safety and abuse-prevention program. She will go on to compete in the Miss America pageant in September.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
PS: she won. Next pageant: #MissAmerica #FuturePharmacist pic.twitter.com/MzqgZBUygl