WISE — Camille Schrier used her platform as the reigning Miss Virginia 2019 Monday to encourage hundreds of sixth-graders to study hard for the many career choices they will have in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

And Schrier knows what she’s talking about. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech with degrees in biochemistry and systems biology who’s pursuing a doctor of pharmacy degree at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“I am not a beauty queen,” she told the youngsters. “I am a pharmacy student. I am a graduate student. I am a woman of science.”

She was part of the fourth annual Girls’ Day in STEM event at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, where the youngsters conducted a variety of science experiments and labs to spark their interest in STEM fields, according to a news release from UVa-Wise.

Schrier’s tenure as Miss Virginia will be spent touring the state as an advocate for STEM education and a variety of other causes, the release states.

Schrier, who has been interested in science since she was a child, said her family kitchen was her first laboratory. She was in pageants as a youngster but decided it was time to devote her time to science. When the Miss America pageant went through significant changes to become less of a beauty contest, she decided to enter the Miss Virginia pageant. Her talent was a science experiment.

“It’s time to broaden the definition of talent,” she explained. “Science is a talent.”

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