Dressed in a lab coat, Camille Schrier won Miss America 2020 after charming the audience with her colorful chemistry demonstration of the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide during the talent portion of the competition.
Schrier, a 24-year-old Pennsylvania native is a cum laude graduate of Virginia Tech with dual Bachelor of Science degrees in biochemistry and systems biology and she is currently studying to obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. She hopes to "break stereotypes about what it means to be a Miss America in 2020" by being a "woman of science" who is true to herself.As the pageant tries to rebrand itself, it has stopped the traditional swimsuit and evening gown portions of the show, and instead partakes in a series of interviews and talent demonstrations to determine who best to wear that year's crown. The 51 "candidates," (no longer contestants) compete for a $50,000 scholarship and the "job" of Miss America where they hope to use their public platform for their "social impact initiative."
"To make it relevant for these young women, it was important for us as a scholarship and service organization to make sure that we were reflective of this generation, meaning that you no longer had to be defined by some sort of ideal," said Regina Hopper, president & CEO of the Miss America Organization.
Having her own battle with an eating disorder, Schrier only agreed to compete after the organization made changes to modernize. "You know, I'm a confident person. But I don't feel the need to be judged on my physical appearance or especially my body in a swimsuit, “she said.
But Schrier ultimately made a more vital impact. “I’ve had people that don’t think that what I do is necessarily a talent,” Schrier said. “I hoped in the back of my mind that I would be able to inspire, you know, one young girl that was like myself who loved science, to see that they could put on hair and makeup and wear beautiful dresses, but they could also do science and that those two were exclusive of each other because that's really who I am. And we need to show that Miss America can be a scientist and that a scientist can be Miss America.”