Miss Virginia Wants Girls to Love Science

Miss Virginia 2019 nixed singing or dancing and displayed a science experiment for the talent portion of the competition. The Pharm.D candidate spoke to Brut about breaking pageant stereotypes and advocating for STEM education for girls. 🔬

Empowering her in ways that the previous pageants never did.

Miss Virginia 2019 Camille Schrier is showing young girls that science isn't just a boy’s club. She's currently a Doctor of Pharmacy Student at Virginia Commonwealth University. After a hiatus from competitions, she found an innovative way to showcase her love for science on the pageant stage. In June 2019, Schrier won the Miss Virginia title beating out 24 other contestants who showcased traditional talents such as singing and dancing. Upon hearing her name announced, Schrier fell to the floor, overcome with tears. Schrier says she never dreamed of the surreal moment because she never thought it was possible.

“For me I never thought I would even be a candidate for a Miss America type competition because I didn't want to be in a swimsuit. So, when they changed the organization to getting rid of that swimsuit competition. I took that as a challenge to figure out a way to make my science and the academic talents that I do have to make them engage. And it also gave me a really great opportunity to inspire young women to go into STEM careers and kids to get them excited about science. I've had children and parents and people that I've never met reach out to me on social media and tell me that they're excited that I can be a role model for their young girl or son and. I never expected to be able to make this kind of an impact”

She says the new format of the Miss America Competition empowered her in ways that the previous pageants never did. Women account for less than one-third of scientific research and development staff across the world according to Catalyst. Schrier says the chance to be the scientist role model she never had is more important than winning. Schrier says she will spend the next year traveling the Commonwealth and advocating for STEM education, drug safety and abuse prevention as well as visiting schools and children’s hospitals. Schrier will compete in the Miss America pageant on September 9, 2019.