Kirstin: Cheerleading “math geek”

Meet Kirstin (who goes by Kita), who’s earning a Mathematical Sciences degree while she cheers for the
Richmond Raiders, a professional indoor football team. Kita’s the captain this year!

SciCheer: Why math?
Kita: Well, from a very young age I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. However, as I got older I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to teach. One day I was taking a make-up test in my 11th grade Trig class when my math teacher told me that I would make a great math teacher and this is when everything clicked for me. Ever since then my love for math had grown and I’m proud to be a math geek! Now, I am currently a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University working on my undergraduate, Mathematical Sciences with a Concentration in Secondary Education. I will start working on my Masters of Education next fall!

SciCheer: Favorite and/or least favorite courses?
Kita: My favorite course so far has been Multivariate Calculus. It’s the first class where I’m really starting to learn new things and push my brain to its limit! I don’t really have a least favorite class, I seriously just love math because it’s logical. There is a set beginning and end to every problem, and a specific answer.

SciCheer: What do you want to do with your degree?
Kita: I want to become a high school math teacher! I feel like there is this huge stereotype against math. There are so many kids who say they hate math before they even start school! Math gets a bad rep and if I can just change one child’s mind that math really isn’t all that bad then my job as a teacher was a success!

SciCheer: How long have you cheered for the Richmond Raiders?
Kita: I have cheered for the Richmond Raiders since their first season in 2010.

SciCheer: Do you find that stereotypes about cheerleaders help or hinder your professional aspirations?
Kita: I find that when I tell people that I’m a cheerleader they completely believe me, but when I tell people I am a math major they usually ask me if I’m serious. What, math majors aren’t allowed to be peppy? One time I was actually asked if I was lost one time while in the math building at my college. None of this has really hindered my studies though, cheerleading has actually been pretty helpful. Cheerleading has taught me how to be a better communicator and I’m now more comfortable in classes, and I can talk to just about anyone.

SciCheer: Do you have any advice for youngsters who might feel torn between following one dream and following another?
Kita: Follow YOUR dreams, and do what YOU want to do; don’t worry about what others may think about you.

SciCheer: What are your plans for the future?
Kita: I hope teach high school math and coach my high school’s dance or cheer team. I also want to eventually go back to school and get my masters in administration so I can become a principal ultimately. In addition, I have plans for a family one day too!

SciCheer: Best cheerleading experience?
Kita: The fans are so amazing! After every game the fans are allowed down on the field to take pictures with the player and cheerleaders and get autographs. This is one of my favorite parts because it’s nice to spend time with the fans.

SciCheer: Best math-related experience?
Kita: I got to student teach an 8th grade Algebra 1 class and I absolutely loved it.

SciCheer: What’s one thing people might find especially surprising about you?
Kita: I’m a football fanatic. (GO COLTS!!!) I have a fantasy football team every year and I love beating all the boys. Every weekend during the fall I turn into “one of the guys” and watch football all day long. It is seriously the best sport.