You’re a certified fitness trainer and a Pop Warner cheerleading coach. What got you interested in working in those jobs?
After I earned my certification in 1995, I was teaching classes at the local YMCA and the gymnastics instructor was out sick one morning and needed immediate coverage for classes and I was asked to fill in. From that point within a year I became the gymnastic director and was heading up all of the children’s fitness and gymnastics classes all over Fairfield County and that’s when cheerleaders started coming to me to learn how to tumble and work on gaining strength and flexibility. That lead to me taking a coaching position with Fairfield CT Pop Warner.
Please describe what you do as a certified fitness trainer.
As a fitness trainer we have to recognize that fitness is different for everyone. When I meet with a client for the first time I get to know everything about them like their medical history, what kind of work they do, what type of environment they work and live in, what activities do they enjoy what do they not like doing, what kids of food do they eat and what are their fitness goals. I find out what their reason are for coming to see me…is it to lose weight, get toned, get built, gain cardio endurance, recover their flexibility or just need to get moving around to feel better again. I will always get their weight because we keep track of this through out their program and also their blood pressure. I take their blood pressure using a stethoscope and a sphygmomanometer. We check it while their resting before exercising, while they are exercising and during cool down. My goal is to keep my clients interested and excited about exercising and eating healthy and also seeing them reach their fitness goals.
How do the qualities that make/made you a great cheerleader benefit you in your science studies/career?
A cheerleader is a “leader”….confident, poised, social, approachable, helpful, will always give their best no matter what and never ever give up. These qualities are important in attending school classes and developing a successful career.
What’s the best part of your day job? What do you enjoy about working with Pop Warner?
Every day is different, between 5 kids, 4 small businesses and a team of 14 girls to coach…However, the best part of my day is when I get to witness the smile of someone that has just accomplished something that makes them feel great! There are so many things I LOVE about Pop Warner. I think on top on my list is the way it brings the community together…the kids, the parents, the coaches, even the local businesses. When we’re all out on that field together, we are one big family.
You cheered for the New England Patriots (pictured here in the front row, far left). How long did you cheer for them, and why did you try out to be a professional cheerleader?
I cheered for 1 season with the New England Patriots. I had always wanted to become a professional dancer or cheerleader when I grew up and one day I received a letter in the mail reminding me that the tryouts were coming up soon in April so I went for it!
Which came first, your interest in science or cheerleading?
It most definitely was the interest in science that came first. Even as a child, I jumped at the chance to get involved in science fairs from elementary right through high school. It was always my favorite subject in school.
Science Cheerleader is an official national partner of Pop Warner, a group dedicated to providing youth football and cheerleading programs for kids age 5 to 16 while also encouraging academic scholarship. You support them as a cheerleading coach. Science Cheerleaders are leading Pop Warner cheerleaders in science-themed cheers and related activities across the country. Thanks for serving as one of our point people! What do you hope the kids get out of the experience?
Science Cheerleaders can help introduce the kids to science and the many career paths available to them in science. It’s a great way to get the kids involved and spark a positive light in their minds on science and its importance. I truly love this partnership because both Science Cheerleaders AND Pop Warner strive to encourage kids to be their best and give them that positive drive to accomplish anything. I hope these kids will take advantage of the opportunities both of these amazing leadership groups have to offer.
There are stereotypes about cheerleaders in our society that make it seem unlikely that a cheerleader could be a scientist. Obviously these stereotypes are untrue, and you are a great example of that. How do you feel about breaking down negative stereotypes about cheerleaders? Have you faced a situation where you had to challenge a stereotype about cheerleaders [or scientists]?
I believe cheerleading has come a long way over the past 15-20 years and is leaving a tremendously positive mark on society. The stereotyping is becoming less and less pronounced. To cheer on any team requires a huge commitment and a high level of dedication from both parents and the kids. It’s not about jumping up and down on a side line with a set of poms poms yelling go team go….it’s leading the world and teaching them to go and keep on going.
What advice would you give your 12-year-old self?
Never ever give up!
What’s one thing people might find especially surprising about you?
People are very surprised when they find out I run several businesses, coach Pop Warner Cheerleading 4 nights a week, volunteer on the Pop Warner board, participate in the Women in Business Networking Group, am a PTO room parent, AND raise 5 children ages 2-19 and still keep on going….with a smile!
What are your plans for the future?
I’m currently working on opening a training center for adults and children. The focus is to educate everyone on healthy and active living while providing families a place where they can have fun and participate in activities and education together.
Why do you want to be a Science Cheerleader?
I enjoy the leadership and the ability to influence people positively. Whether it’s getting them healthy, teaching a new skill, or providing them with the ability to achieve self confidence, strong minds and fuel their determination, that’s what makes me feel accomplished. I love to see others succeed and I want to help guide them to get there.>