Inside Edition/YouTube; @semestasains/Twitter

In 1921, the Miss America pageant was created to attract visitors to Atlantic City's boardwalk. Then in the mid 1940s, a time when only 76,000 women in the USA graduated from college, Miss America added scholarships to their prize package.

College scholarships changed the pageant dramatically and eventually helped the Miss America organization become the United State's leading provider of educational scholarships for women. Since then, education has been an important component, but—aside from the interview—the connection to the pageant wasn't on prominent display.

Until now.

Camille Schrier is a 24 year-old with Bachelor of Science degrees in Biochemistry and Systems Biology from Virginia Tech⁠—where she graduated cum laude⁠—and is working on her Doctor of Pharmacy Degree at Virginia Commonwealth University. Until earlier this month she was also Miss Dominion—a regional pageant title in Virginia—but now Schrier is Miss Virginia.

Next stop: Miss America.

How did she win the crown?

Partly through her performance in the talent competition. But Schrier didn't dance, sing or play an instrument—talents we associate with pageants.

Camille Schrier demonstrated the "catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide."

Inside Edition/YouTube

Yep, she pulled a Bill Nye on stage, complete with white lab coat and safety glasses.

Inside Edition/YouTube

Watch footage of her performance here:

How Miss Virginia Won Her Crown Thanks to Science

Schrier competed in pageants beginning at the age of 14 and stopping when she began college.

After learning that the Miss America organization eliminated the swimsuit portion of their pageants and vowed to focus more on professionalism and social impact, Schrier decided to return to the pageant world.

And her choice to make a chemistry experiment her talent?

Schrier said on an Instagram post:

"When I said during my chemistry demonstration that 'I've loved science since I was a little girl' I wasn't kidding. Who would have thought that this little girl would grow up to not only be a Miss Virginia, but also start an international media firestorm about SCIENCE!"

Her unconventional talent created quite a stir.

Schrier said:

"I'm trying to be like Bill Nye [the Science Guy]. That's what I'm going for. I want to get kids excited [about science], but I don't want it to be boring."

She added:

"I expected to hear some feedback saying that my talent wasn't really a talent. But I will tell you, I was overwhelmed with messages saying how cool my talent was, how refreshing it was and how everyone was impressed that I was able to tie education and science into something that was also entertaining."
"I didn't have that kind of role model who had gone through the same experiences that I had of being an undergrad in a science career."
"And now I'm in a graduate program. It's not easy [getting a science degree] and I want to be that person to go out there and encourage and show [children] that I did it. And so can you."

STEM stands for: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

In another Instagram post, Schrier said:

"WOW! Hi everyone, I'm Camille Schrier and I'm MISS VIRGINIA 2019! I am SO EXCITED to start this journey."
"This year, I'll be traveling across the commonwealth visiting schools & children's hospitals, as well as advocating for STEM education & drug safety and abuse prevention. LET'S DO THIS!"

As for pageants, the new Miss Virginia said:

"It taught me a lot about being professional … in terms of just being able to prepare a resume, go into an interview confidently, and how to prepare for something like that."
"The evolution of the Miss America competition, which reflects greater inclusiveness, and an opportunity to make a difference and win scholarships inspired me to step forward this year and compete."
"I am more than Miss Virginia. I am Miss Biochemist, Miss Systems Biologist, Miss Future PharmD looking toward a pharmaceutical industry career."
"Now was the time for me to create a mind shift about the concept of talent by bringing my passion for STEM to the stage. To me, talent is not a passion alone, but also a skill which is perfected over years of learning."

Schrier won $21,000 in scholarships out of $75,000 total offered during the Miss Virginia pageant.

And her experiment?

The catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide is a science experiment where the giant spurts of foam occur when potassium iodide (Kl) is added to a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and dish soap. The process resembles what happens when hydrogen peroxide is applied to a wound and bubbles form.

In September, Schrier will join talented, educated women from across the United States to compete for the Miss America 2020 crown.

The book Pretty Smart: Lessons From Our Miss Americas, available here, offers:

"...insights, wisdom and stories from twenty-two former Miss Americas, who are not just pretty but pretty smart, and how they pursued their passions all the way to professional and personal success. With their thoughtful intelligence and insightful eloquence these women shatter the myth that the Pageant is 'just a beauty contest'."
"Their stories, woven into a tapestry of inspiration and wisdom, prove that it takes vision, discipline, drive and, yes, brains to win the crown."
Clint Patterson/Unsplash

Conspiracy theories are beliefs that there are covert powers that be changing the course of history for their own benefits. It's how we see the rise of QAnon conspiracies and people storming the capital.

Why do people fall for them? Well some research has looked into the reasons for that.

The Association for Psychological Science published a paper that reviewed some of the research:

"This research suggests that people may be drawn to conspiracy theories when—compared with nonconspiracy explanations—they promise to satisfy important social psychological motives that can be characterized as epistemic (e.g., the desire for understanding, accuracy, and subjective certainty), existential (e.g., the desire for control and security), and social (e.g., the desire to maintain a positive image of the self or group)."

Whatever the motivations may be, we wanted to know which convoluted stories became apart of peoples consciousness enough for them to believe it.

Keep reading... Show less
Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

I hate ghosts, even if it's Casper. My life is already stressful enough. I don't need to creeped out by spirits from the beyond. Shouldn't they be resting and basking in the glow of the great beyond instead of menacing the rest of us?

The paranormal seems to be consistently in unrest, which sounds like death isn't any more fun or tranquil than life. So much for something to look forward to.

Some ghosts just like to scare it up. It's not always like "Ghosthunters" the show.

Redditor u/Murky-Increase4705 wanted to hear about all the times we've faced some hauntings that left us shook, by asking:

Reddit, what are your creepy encounters with something that you are convinced was paranormal?
Keep reading... Show less
Image by Denise Husted from Pixabay

The past year brought about much anxiety and it's been a challenge to find the light in what has felt like perpetual darkness.

Keep reading... Show less
Image by Gabriela Sanda from Pixabay

A lot of talk going on about women's bodies, isn't there?

Not necessarily with women front and center as part of the conversation, unfortunately.

Keep reading... Show less