Instagram | @camilleschrier

Biochemist Crowned Miss Virginia After Performing Colorful Science Experiment

For decades, the Miss America pageant has typically inspired one of three reactions in people: curiosity, revulsion, or disinterest.

For those who are actually aware of when pageant season is going on, they've historically either wanted to see the glamorous contestants for themselves or sworn off the whole idea for being an event dedicated to judging women's appearance and little else.

Although the Miss America and Miss USA pageants would later set aside an opportunity to showcase their contestants' talents and values, these arguably came off as token attempts to deflect criticism.

However, it seems the Miss America pageant is in the process of rebranding itself and the most recent winner of the Miss Virginia ceremony illustrates their new direction.

When she was a teenager, 24-year-old Camille Schrier was no stranger to the pageant circuit.

Instagram | @camilleschrier

According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, she competed for about four years before entering what she thought would be a retirement from that world in 2015.

The reason? She had been accepted into Virginia Tech and wanted to pursue the sciences.

Instagram | @camilleschrier

Specifically, she would work towards degrees in biochemistry and systems biology, which she would attain in 2018.

She hasn't stopped there, either, as she is now working towards her doctorate at the Virginia Commonwealth University school of pharmacy.

In addition to wanting to focus on her studies, she also didn't figure that her talents translated to the stage as well as "traditional" ones like singing or dancing.

Reddit | [deleted]

However, those traditions were recently shaken up in last year's "Miss America 2.0" rebranding, which was intended to emphasize contestant's potential social impacts, rather than how they looked.

Part of this involved phasing out their swimsuit competition, which has been a part of the pageant since its inception nearly a century ago.

Once she became aware of this change, Schrier decided to re-enter the scene and try out for the competition.

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So when the time for the pageant's preliminary talent contest came, she showed up in a white lab coat, safety googles, protective gloves, and some high heels.

As she told 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."

Her experiment demonstrated what happens when hydrogen peroxide meets an enzyme in the blood called Catalese.

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This process, known as catalytic decomposition, resulted in impressive-looking bursts of foam to ascend from Schrier's beakers when she mixed the components together.

This won her the preliminary talent competition and its $1,000 scholarship on the spot.

Not only that, but her knowledge also went a long way towards earning Schrier the title of Miss Virginia itself.

Instagram | @camilleschrier

This means that out of the $75,000 in scholarships awarded at this leg of the Miss America pageant, $21,000 went to her. Grad school costs are no joke, so this will help significantly.

Upon winning, Schrier said she was "overwhelmed in the best way" and fell to the floor crying.

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As she tours the country, she intends to not only encourage girls' interest in STEM fields, but also to help educate parents about medication error and the naloxone she is trained to administer in the event of an opioid overdose.

She also plans to discuss the opioid epidemic in general and show off her winning experiment yet again.

h/t: Richmond Post-Dispatch