Virginia Tech alum Camille Schrier’s victory in the Miss America 2020 Thursday not only shined the spotlight on science but it will inspire many other young girls to explore STEM opportunities, said Virginia Tech College of Science Dean Sally C. Morton.

“We are delighted to see a Virginia Tech science alumna shine on the national stage,” Morton said Friday, “and we’re even more thrilled that she is using her success to showcase the value of STEM education for kids and as a catalyst to encourage young girls to study science and do science.”

Schrier’s victory is no surprise to her professors at Virginia Tech, who remember Schrier, a 2018 graduate with a double major in systems biology and biochemistry. During her year-long reign as Miss Virginia, Schrier worked to promote science, technology, engineering, and math education and careers in schools throughout the state, with a focus on attracting girls to STEM fields.

“She definitely made the best presentations in my class,” said Jing Chen, an assistant professor of biological sciences who taught Schrier in several courses. “She was very good at explaining the background information and her results.”

Camille Schrier spent many hours in a research lab while she was a student at Virginia Tech. She had a dual major in systems biology and biochemistry.

“I want to be that role model for them,” said Schrier, who chose a chemistry demonstration for the competition to showcase what she could bring to schools during her reign.

The demonstration, called elephant toothpaste, is a reaction of hydrogen peroxide and potassium iodide that produces a big stream of steaming foam. Pageant staff had to wear thermal gloves while cleaning up the stage afterwards, Schrier said.

Additional background:
Virginia Tech alumna takes science to pageant stage

Miss Virginia 2019 Camille Schrier visits Virginia Tech Science Festival

Media outlets interested in obtaining an interview with Sally Morton should contact Lon Wagner at or 540-739-9438.

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