|Murchtricia Charles will represent UVI at HBCU Hall of Fame competition …|
“Since I was four, I have been doing pageants and things like that where the best dress can help you win,” says Charles, who entered the competition knowing that it was more than just another pageant. “With Miss UVI being an ambassadorial competition, I saw the work that you have to put into it. The work I had to put into my beauty pageants is nothing compared to what I had to put into Miss UVI.” Charles had to thoroughly learn about UVI and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Winning Miss UVI means more to her than any other competition of its kind she says. “It is something that I really worked for,” says Charles. “I used my mind – not just my smile.”
On the night of the competition she did not know if she would win. She juggled preparing for Miss UVI with classes, research and preparing for a competitive research internship program. When she was announced the winner, all Charles could do to keep from crying was to laugh. “It was just an overwhelming experience,” Charles says. “It was truly an out-of-body experience.”
Drumond, who was also Charles’ chaperone, could not be prouder of his little sister. “I am ecstatic,” he says. “I couldn’t wish or ask for someone else to call my younger sister. She is so determined to achieve whatever she puts her mind to.”
Drumond says he firmly believes that her personal interview, experience, talent and confidence on stage made her Miss UVI win possible.
Charles has been enjoying her role as UVI’s ambassador. She participated in the St. Thomas Carnival parade soon after winning and is currently in New Jersey enrolled in the Research in Science Engineering (RISE) Internship Program. “I love math,” says Charles, who is a junior majoring in mathematics and computational biology. “I am doing a type of research that I have never done before as well as computer science and computational chemistry,” says Charles. “It is really broadening my horizons to what I want to do for my Ph.D.”
One of Miss UVI’s duties is to represent UVI at the HBCU Hall of Fame competition, which will be held in Atlanta on Sept. 25. She will compete against at least 35 other contestants representing HBCU’s throughout the nation. “I am looking forward to not only meeting all of the girls and meeting new people when I get there, but also having people embrace the University of the Virgin Islands and putting our name out there,” Charles says. “That’s my purpose. I am an ambassador.”
A love of education for youth is what motivates Charles. Born on St. Croix, she firmly believes that students need to be properly prepared to enter college with sufficient skills to take higher level math courses. “There are a lot of students that graduate from high school in the Virgin Islands and they don’t have the ability to solve problems that they should be able to solve when entering an institution of higher learning, which is not their fault.” She says it is necessary for us as a community to get together and prepare them to enter an institution of higher learning. She is currently a tutor in the Peer Led Team Learning program.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, she plans to continue her education and receive a doctorate in computational biology and molecular biophysics. “My major goal is to come back to the Virgin Islands and open a STEM preparatory school,” Charles says. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and Mathematics. She says the school will prepare students for post-secondary education.