Meet Jessica, a science teacher by day, cheerleader for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks by night. She’s the latest addition to our growing team of Science Cheerleaders. Since we interviewed Jessica in 2011, she retired from NBA and NHL cheerleading. She’s also been pursuing a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology, which she’ll complete by the end of this year. Go Jessica!
You teach science then head to whoop it up for the Hawks. What’s a typical day like?
Jessica: My day is anything but typical! I’m happy to answer this because most fans don’t know we have real jobs! The beginning of my day starts off with my 6th grade students, doing activities that relate to Earth Science in particular. I teach a broad spectrum of students ranging from special needs all the way to gifted, all in the same classroom.
After teaching I coach the dance team here at my school (they hold GA state championship titles) twice a week; I also own and operate a small studio competitive squad once a week (they have received many 1st place awards regionally and nationally); and I serve as a member of the Atlanta Hawks Cheerleaders. I’m constantly on the go, so physical health and fitness are quite important. As a professional cheerleader, we always are conditioned for one hour before we even start practice. I also have a personal trainer in order to stay at my top physical shape.
You also cheered for the Atlanta Thrashers, a hockey team. What’s cheering on the ice like?
I was on the Atlanta Thrashers Blue Crew for 3 years. My last year I was dance captain. Each game we were split into two groups, either dance/cheer or ice. So not only did you have to know how to dance but also I’ve skate. Girls who were on dance would do promos and small 8 counts and meet and greet in the stands. Girls on the ice would clean the ice during game stoppages and fix the goals and pegs. It was a lot of fun because the fans were always so pumped and very dedicated. Even though I was not the best ice skater, I grew to really love cleaning the ice because it was very exciting to be out there doing something so important.
Best science-related experience?
Jessica: The best experience in the science field is when I do fun hands-on activities or labs in the classroom and the light bulb goes off for a student. It’s so awesome when they understand a scientific concept!
What’s one thing people might find especially surprising about you?
Jessica: I love import cars. I have done body work to my own car. I am most interested in how adding after-market parts to the engine will make the car beat some of the fastest muscle cars!