Camille Schrier, a biochemist who wowed the judges with a colorful chemistry experiment, was crowned Miss America on Thursday night.

The 24-year-old Pennsylvania native is a cum laude graduate of Virginia Tech with dual bachelor of science degrees in biochemistry and systems biology, according to The Associated Press. She is currently studying to get a doctor of pharmacy degree with a focus on drug safety.

 

Schrier said she hoped to “break stereotypes about what it means to be a Miss America in 2020” by being a “woman of science” true to herself.

“I’m not the beauty queen,” she said. “I’m the brand ambassador for this organization and I’m more than just someone with a crown on my head.”

The 99th Miss America competition featured several changes to the traditional pageant, including the second year without a swimsuit competition or judging on physical appearance. 

Schrier opened up on stage about battling an eating disorder and said she decided to compete after the swimsuit portion was removed, AP reported.

“I kind of figured that I would never get on that stage because I was a woman who did not want to get into a swimsuit on stage. And I didn’t have a performing talent, which is really ironic now,” she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The 51 women who participate are now called “candidates” instead of “contestants.” They compete for a $50,000 scholarship and the role of Miss America, a one-year paid position.

“To make it relevant for these young women, it was important for us as a scholarship and service organization to make sure that we were reflective of this generation, meaning that you no longer had to be defined by some sort of ideal,” Regina Hopper, president and CEO of the Miss America Organization, told the AP.

Schrier succeeds 2019 Miss America Nia Franklin, a classically trained opera singer from New York.