Camille Schrier ‘13 became a viral sensation when she was crowned Miss America 2020; she was the first person in the organization’s 100-year history to win the famous scholarship contest on a STEM platform. Her talent was a chemical reaction using hydrogen peroxide, sodium iodide, and dish soap that produced a large, foamy mess on stage, called Elephant Toothpaste.
Ms. Schrier is currently pursuing a doctorate of pharmacology at Virginia Commonwealth University, and visited The Hun School on Thursday during her winter break. She spoke to four different classes about drug education, women’s leadership, , her path to Miss America, and her journey in the STEM field.
Though Ms. Schrier was elected to a very public leadership role; she reminded the GEM Club and Girls’ Leadership Cohort that there are opportunities to be a leader at every stage of life.
“You don’t have to have a leadership position to be a leader,” she said. She encouraged the students to take risks, speak out when they feel it’s right, and work to gain the trust and respect of their colleagues.
“I think sometimes as women we’re afraid to take the jump, and that can hold us back,” Ms. Schrier said. “I know I’m afraid of failure. I’m also a big believer in proving your abilities, regardless of your gender.”
Her message about taking risks hit home for some of the girls in the group, including Morgan Haley ‘24. “Knowing yourself better and what you need helps you [consider] others and be a better leader for others,” Morgan said.
Ms. Schrier also encouraged Hun’s students to understand how they learn best, and then seek out the college or university that matches their learning style, instead of focusing on rankings. She spent time learning about the interests and future plans of the STEM Scholars and Girls Who Code club, and offered them some advice and words of encouragement.
“She was very honest and was herself, and I just liked her personality,” Noor Taresh ’23 said.
In Ms. Albanese’s freshman health class, Ms. Schrier talked about substance use disorders and the opioid epidemic. “It’s one of the things that, because there’s a stigma, people don’t want to admit they struggle with it. There are so many people who struggle with it that you would never suspect. There are people who go through their whole day, and you would never know,” Ms. Schrier said.
After telling the class that 300 people die everyday from an opioid overdose, she told the class some of the things they can do to help the epidemic, including sharing resources with family members and friends who they think might be struggling. She also explained how Narcan, a brand name of the opioid overdose medication Naloxone, knocks opioids off of receptors in the brain, changing the activity of the cell and reversing the effects of the overdose.
“I liked learning about how Narcan can remove opioids from your brain stem because it’s important to know and can help save someone’s life,” said Charlotte Vanderborght ’25.
Following her visit, Ms. Schrier headed back to Richmond, Virginia to continue her pharmacology studies. She shared with the students that her goal is to become a pharmacist for a pharmaceutical company, and we have no doubt she will continue to make the world a better place.