Friday, November 13, 2020

Camille Schrier Visits Section 36!

Photo Courtesy Miss America Org
Section 36 has another visitor! Camille Schrier is passionate about raising awareness of everyday medication safety, a proponent for STEM, a Phillies fan, and the current Miss America! I could not be more honoired that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more!

So, let's see what happens when Camille Schrier visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss America crown?

Well, it’s a little hard to celebrate when you have to get right to work! Immediately after winning (literally at 4am) I was in a car on my way to New York City to appear as a guest on The Today Show. I celebrated by getting to meet fellow Virginia Tech alumna Hoda Kotb and travel around the hustle and bustle of New York for dozens of interviews!

What has been the most pleasant surprise about your time as Miss America?

2020 has come with a lot of surprises for all of us…many of which aren’t very positive (except for COVID-19!). I am a glass half-full type of person, and try to make the best out of difficult situations…so for me, one of the most pleasant surprises has been how easy it has been able to adapt my job as Miss America to a virtual format. I’ve been able to give keynote speeches over zoom, perform science demonstrations for students in classrooms across the country, and create a science mini-series with PBS! Despite all of the negative that has come with the pandemic, I am grateful for the unique opportunities this year has afforded me.

What made you decide to compete within the Miss America Organization?

I was always interested in the personal and professional advancement opportunities that Miss America offered young women, but for a very long time I didn’t think I could compete. I wasn’t interested in the swimsuit competition, and didn’t have a traditional fine arts talent…which were two of the main competitions. In the Spring of 2019, I saw an advertisement for the last local competition leading up to Miss Virginia…and entered on whim. With the swimsuit competition eliminated, I decided to take a risk, and tackled the talent competition by remaining true to myself and performing a science demonstration. The rest is history!

How did you select your social impact initiative, “Mind Your Meds: Drug Safety and Abuse Prevention from Pediatrics to Geriatrics”?

I started my personal social impact initiative of Mind Your 

Photo Courtesy
Miss America Org
Meds: Drug Safety and Abuse Prevention from Pediatrics to Geriatrics, based on my experience as a Doctor of Pharmacy Student at Virginia Commonwealth University. I saw a need for education and awareness for everyday medication safety, ranging from over the counter medications to prescription opioids. The daughter of a registered nurse, I grew up exposed to the concept of medication safety, and recall trips to the pharmacy watching my mother flip over boxes of cold, cough, and flu medicines to identify active ingredients and carefully consider what could be given together. But my circumstance was not the norm. Caregivers or parents without medical training may become confused or overwhelmed when administering medications and can unintentionally harm a child or aging parent with seemingly benign over the counter medications or prescribed drugs. Then, after attending a Naloxone training session from the Virginia Department of Health, and learning about how both prescription and illicit opioid drugs are plaguing our communities, that I knew I needed to also use this platform to help combat this growing epidemic.

What is your favorite “behind the scenes” memory from the Miss America Competition?

One morning during rehearsal we were all very tired, in our evening gowns, waiting to begin practicing the introduction to the final show. The crew put some music on for us while we waited, and one of the candidates requested that we play some songs from High School Musical and The Cheetah Girls. Most of us grew up watching these movies, and before we knew it, our entire class was singing and dancing to some of our favorite nostalgic Disney songs! Someone snapped a video of us…and it’s still saved on my phone. It was such a wonderful bonding moment for our class, and is a memory that will stay with me forever!

You followed in the footsteps of Alayna Westcom with a “science experiment” talent. What was it like to perform that on the Miss America stage?

Photo Courtesy Miss America Org

For the talent portion of the competition I performed the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, commonly known as the ‘elephants toothpaste’ demonstration. Most people think I’m the first to ever do this, but I often speak of Miss Vermont 2015 Alayna Westcom who was actually the first woman to bring science to the Miss America stage. The demonstration is a vibrant and exciting explosion of foam that I used to get the audience excited about science, and teach basic chemistry concepts. I always thought that I couldn’t compete for Miss America because I didn’t have a traditional performing talent, and so it was meaningful for me to broaden the definition of talent at Miss America so that other women like myself can see themselves as a part of our program, and take advantage of the scholarship opportunities it can offer! Additionally, as a woman of science, I wanted to come up with an innovative way to display the talents I have in the sciences, while also getting others (especially kids) excited about STEM careers.

Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your remaining time as Miss America?

Photo Courtesy
I have many goals related to my social impact initiative and STEM advocacy, including reducing the stigma around substance use disorder and overdoses, increasing the amount of people who are naloxone trained, and showing young people the value of STEM in their lives. But if I were to choose one ultimate goal to accomplish this year, it would be show the world that it’s OK to be different, and that success comes when you are authentically yourself.

You graduated from Virginia Tech, whose campus is close to where the Salem Red Sox play. Were you able to watch any baseball while you were in Blacksburg?

Unfortunately, I was not able to watch any baseball while at Virginia Tech! BUT, I did have the chance to throw out the first pitch at a Lynchburg Hillcats game while I was Miss Virginia!

As a Phillies fan, is there a feature or activity at a baseball game that you’d especially like to experience?

I grew up going to Phillies games with my family, and loved the atmosphere that baseball provided. I joke that it’s still the only professional sport I understand One of my favorite parts about Phillles games was interacting with their mascot, The Phillie Phanatic. I always wanted to get invited up on the dugout, so maybe I’ll get the chance to do that in the future!


How much fun would that be?!?!

As always, I want to thank Camille for visiting with us! I also want to thank the Miss America Org for sending along the wonderful pictures to go with the interview.

As Camille continues her time as Miss America, I encourage you to check out her official Miss America website (especially her blog), Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and YouTube account. They're great ways to keep track of everything she has going on!

I also definitely want to wish her the best of luck as she finishes her time with the Miss America title. I hope she reaches all of her goals!

Thanks again Camille, and good luck!

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