Meet Kristie Minton, a chemist at Eli Lilly and former Indianapolis Colts cheerleader. I enlisted Kristie’s help in my effort to challenge some long-held stereotypes of cheerleaders and scientists. Here’s the first in a series of related posts.
Kristie: I am thrilled to be able to help you shake up some stereotypes, Science Cheerleader! I cheered for the Indianapolis Colts (2001 – 2007) and attended classes at the University of Indianapolis towards a degree in chemistry. It was a long road and tough schedule for several years, but I finally graduated in May of 2008 (3 months before I had my son) with a BS in Chemistry, GPA 3.6. I am a chemist at Eli Lilly and will celebrate ten years there in April 2010! My work is analytical development of new drugs coming down the pipeline. I work on method development for release testing, sample analysis for cell culture and purification processes, serve as the chair for my entire department’s safety committee, among other smaller initiatives.
While I was a cheerleader, many people would remark, “You don’t look like a chemist! Do you really wear a lab coat and safety glasses?” (I guess a chemist is supposed to wear a pocket protector and high water pants?)
Advice for young girls? Try to be as well rounded as possible. Do well in school because it is an investment in your future. In order to earn respect from others, especially if you fit the “cheerleader profile” in regards to looks, you must demonstrate intelligence and an ambition to want to succeed in other areas of your life.
Most memorable cheerleading experience? The cheerleaders traveled to Tokyo Japan in 2005 to cheer at the American Bowl game. While I was there, I was chosen to take part in an appearance that involved riding with coach Tony Dungy and several of the players on Black Hawk Helicopters! We flew to a naval ship where we met some of the men and women serving our country! We mingled and signed autographs. It was an amazing experience! I was also fortunate my last year of cheering to participate in the NFL Cheerleader Challenge. That same year, I was chosen to serve as a captain for one of the squads performing at Super Bowl XLI in Miami! The Super Bowl was amazing, rain and all, and those of us who cheered that year are so thankful to have Super Bowl rings to remind us of the special event that we were a part of! I was so blessed that year to also be chosen to represent the Colts at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. The night after the Super Bowl I didn’t sleep.. I showered, packed up my bags and caught a flight to Honolulu. I spent all week meeting wonderful women from the other teams, performing, doing appearances and making memories that I will cherish forever!
Most memorable experience as a chemist? Everyday is thrilling knowing that what I do at work helps people who are suffering from diseases and illnesses. I’ve witnessed the transformations in patients as a result of the medicines we’re developing at Eli Lilly and it’s a constant reminder of the importance of what I do.
GOOOOO Science! And GOOOO Sexy Scientists and Engineers!