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VCU Pharmacy Student Showcases Science Skills And Wins Miss America

VCU pharmacy student Camille Schrier
VCU pharmacy student Camille Schrier, winner of 2019 Miss Virginia pageant and contestant in 2020 Miss America pageant. (Source: VCU School of Pharmacy)

Reported by VPM News Intern Alan Rodriguez Espinoza. 

Camille Schrier started participating in pageants when she was 14 years old, but she left that behind when she began her undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech.

Three years later, after enrolling for the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Virginia Commonwealth University, Schrier found a way to intersect her love for science with her passion for pageants. On stage, Schrier demonstrates big and bright science experiments. These experiments landed Schrier the title of Miss Virginia in June of this year. Thursday night, Schrier took home the biggest title: Miss America. 

Schrier’s decision to showcase her scientific knowledge on stage has set her apart from the competition, but Dr. Kelechi Ogbanna from the VCU School of Pharmacy says it has also had other benefits.

“Oftentimes when young kids are thinking about their progression, I’m not sure there are always those role models or folks they can identify with that look like them or speak like them,” he said. “So I think Camille, in particular, has struck a particular chord because there are young girls that are out there that are looking now at science as a really neat or cool thing to go into.”

Ogbonna, the school’s Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Services, says VCU has been happy to accommodate and support Schrier as she takes a break from classes to take on her pageant responsibilities.

“I’m sure once she’s served her time and continued to inspire young girls around the world she’ll come back and complete all that degree work and do great things for the profession,” he said.

While her participation in the pageant has been an inspiration to many young girls to explore STEM education, Schrier also runs on a platform of raising awareness regarding drug safety and substance abuse prevention.

Ogbanna said the school feels “incredibly proud of her” and that Schrier has been “a tremendous ambassador” for the school’s pharmacy program. “I give her a lot of credit and kudos,” Ogbanna said. “Much of what she’s going through, at least from an outside perspective looking in, they’re high pressure situations and she’s performed admirably." 

Schrier’s latest scientific display, a popular experiment known as “elephant toothpaste” that causes colorful streaks of foam to fly through the air, earned her the talent award at a Miss America preliminary event. 

VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.