Greetings! Please welcome another member of the AFC Champion New England Patriots cheerleading squad! She joins the ranks of the Science Cheerleaders; current and former NFL and NBA cheerleaders pursuing science and technology careers. Amanda is a Doctor of Pharmacy and another of those ladies that folks in Boston would call “wicked smaht.” Look for her on TV on SuperBowl Sunday!
So what got you interested in science?
Amanda: I always knew I wanted a career in science, specifically healthcare. My mother is a nutritionist and she specializes in oncology nutrition. She always has amazing stories about her patients. We couldn’t go anywhere without running into someone whose life she’s changed. She inspired me to want a career taking care of others.
Favorite and/or least favorite courses you took to prepare for your degree? Why?
Amanda: Favorite: Advanced Infectious Disease (ID)/Public health—it was an interactive class. We made PSAs on different ID public health issues including STD testing, needle exchange, hand washing and appropriate use of antibiotics. Our videos were posted on a campus website.
Tell us about the team you’ve cheered for, how long you’ve cheered for them, and why you tried out to be a professional cheerleader.
Amanda: I’ve been a Patriots cheerleader for three years. I tried out after dancing for my college team for four years. I just wasn’t ready to give up my hobby! I’m also a huge Patriots fan having grown up in Rhode Island.
Which came first, your interest in science or cheerleading?
Amanda: My first year of cheerleading was my junior year of high school. I always had an interest in science and how things happened, especially within the human body. Anatomy in seventh grade confirmed my love of physiology which developed into a love for pathophysiology/pharmacology.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Amanda: A typical day at the hospital involves preparing IV antibiotics, reviewing and entering physician orders, reviewing patient medication profiles, answering nursing and physician questions and supervising the technicians. Usually, after work I drive to cheerleading practice early to help my teammates with any new choreography. Captains are always at practice at least an hour early to answer questions. We stretch as a team, learn new material, run through older material, practice high kicks, work out, and then stretch again for a cool down.
Best part of your day job?
Amanda: Best part of my day job is when I can make a medication recommendation or intervention that will really help someone.
Do you find that stereotypes about cheerleaders helped or hindered your studies or professional experiences?
Alyssa: My coworkers have told me that they were surprised at how efficient, hard-working, and capable I am on the job. They said that when they found out a cheerleader was going to start working there, they were not very excited. I’m proud to say that I have changed their minds! Also, at promotional appearances, most fans are surprised to learn that I, and many of my teammates, have full time careers or are studying in a math/ science related field.
Do you have any advice for youngsters who might feel torn between following one dream and another?
Amanda: My only advice would be to follow your heart! I’m so happy to be able to do the two things that I love. Being well rounded is important and each experience will add something unique to your life. In high school, I was both a mathlete and a varsity cheerleader! Although some of my classmates may have teased me, I didn’t care. I balanced my passions and became a better person! Do what you love! You’ll build unique friendships and meet diverse groups of people!
What are your plans for the future?
Amanda: I’m hoping to gain more clinical experience as a pharmacist and complete a residency. I’m also looking into getting a master’s degree in public health. I think it’s so important to be able to inform the masses on how to prevent disease and study population risk factors/outcomes to develop treatments for existing conditions. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll work for the CDC!
Best cheerleading experience?
Amanda: My best experience as a cheerleader was traveling to Afghanistan to spend Christmas with the troops!
What’s one thing people might find especially surprising about you?
Amanda: People might be surprised to learn that I graduated valedictorian of my high school class and number two in my PharmD class.
Why do you want to be a Science Cheerleader?
Amanda: I think it’s important to encourage today’s youth and let them know that it is possible to be both a scholar and an athlete. More often than not, doing both will lead to a balanced and enriched life with many unique opportunities.