Eugene crowns its 31st Slug Queen

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - On a warm and damp Friday evening in Eugene, the fluorescent-green haired Professor Doctor Mildred Slugwak Dresselhaus was selected as the 2013 S.L.U.G. (Society for the Legitimization of the Ubiquitous Gastropod) Queen, the 31st in a long line of witty and slimy royalty.

She beat out a field of four other candidates to become the city of Eugene's unofficial ambassador and will be featured in the Eugene Celebration parade on Aug. 24.

"It feels really great," the newly crowned queen said of her slimy selection. "My minions put so much hard work into this."

Queen Professor Doctor - also known as Brandy Todd, assistant director for administration at the University of Oregon's center for optics - put herself forward as a candidate on a platform of getting under-represented children interested in science, with an emphasis on young females.

In her other life, the new slug queen is director of the Science Program to Inspire Creativity and Excellence (SPICE), an outreach program targeted toward young girls with the goal of getting them to pursue an education in science.

"We're going to be doing a lot of outreach (over the next year)," Todd said. "Science is fun, and we need lots more people in science, particularly girls."

The competition for slug queen is comprised of three parts: appearance, including the quirkily colorful garb the candidates don; talent; and a question and answer session for each individual candidate.

Todd and her "minions" - science students who volunteered to help with her candidacy - performed a science exhibition with flaming liquids, smoking buckets of a solution and an ice cream-based concoction given to each of the old queens and judges, all set to the musical stylings of the "Weird Science" theme song. The crowd oohed and ahhed at the showing of chemical reactions put to song and dance.

The 2013 Slug Queen runner-up was Professor Bulbous Slimbuldore, who transformed into "Elton Slug" the rock star clad in white high-heeled boots to perform his own rendition of Elton John's "Crocodile Rock" that he dubbed "Slug Rock."

Second-runner up was awarded to Gloria Slimem, who did a choreographed dance to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky." Both performances inspired the crowd to get up off their seats and dance.

Former slug queens also were honored with achievement pins for their years of service. The first Slug Queen, Queen Bruce Gordon, was honored for his 30 years as a Slug Queen starting in 1983. The 1993 and 2003 queens, Bananita Sluginsky (Sarah Ulerick) and Inspira Gastropoduim (Kassy Daggett), also were honored for their 20 and 10 years of service respectively.

Ulerick - who also served as emcee for the coronation - said she is excited to have a scientist among the Slug Queen ranks since "we're not very educated." In addition to being a former queen, Ulerick serves as dean of science at Lane Community College.

"She's bringing little girls into science and making it fun," Ulerick said of the new queen."

"That's what Slug Queens do, we try to make slime and glamour fun for people, so I think slime, glamour and science are a great mix."

2012 Queen Sadie Slimy Stitches (Maiya Becker) says she is excited to pass the torch on to a queen who is emphasizing science because it is out of the box compared to past platforms.

"Science isn't something that the Slug Queens have really backed before, so I think it's great that we're getting a new focus and something that we can bring attention to," Becker said.