Meet Trish, a Science Cheerleader who cheers for the Super Bowl-playing New England Patriots AND is an environmental engineer! Trish earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Check out this interview!
Trish: What turned you on to engineering?
Trish: I have always liked math growing up. I still remember learning subtraction and addition at the dinner table with my parents using Cheerios. Math was a fun game where I enjoyed the concept of rules and always having a solution. My dad is a draftsman. I think this is where I get my desire for math from.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Trish:I work during the week at my engineering office. At work I do anything ranging from calculating how much water a town needs in the future to going out in the field and recording pressure data on hydrants needed to help analyze a town’s water distribution system. From work, I either go directly to the Gillette Stadium for practice with the rest of my team or I go to my old dance studio where I teach young girls dance. Throughout the year I am also given the opportunity to perform at home Patriots games, travel throughout New England for promotional appearances and charity events, travel to tropical places to shoot a calendar, and go overseas to the Middle East to support our troops.
Best part of your day job?
Trish:Constantly working on something new and continue learning and knowing that the work I do directly impacts hundreds of people in a positive way.
Do you find that stereotypes about cheerleaders helped or hindered your studies or professional experiences?
Trish:Stereotypes about cheerleaders never hindered my studies or professional experiences although the education, degrees and jobs of Patriots Cheerleaders definitely surprise people. At work, throughout college and growing up at home, everyone in my life has been a support system that I am very grateful for.
Do you have any advice for youngsters who might feel torn between following one dream and another?
Trish: I believe that even with a love for dance, a degree is so important and should come first. I was able to put my studies first and enjoy dance on the side. Once I earned my degree, I was lucky enough to fulfill a dream by becoming a Patriots Cheerleader. Based on my experience, there is no reason why you cannot find a way to incorporate engineering, math, science, health, or whatever your interest may be with the love of dance or cheering.
What are your plans for the future?
Trish:I will go for my professional license in engineering and hopefully continue to teach dance.
Best cheerleading experience?
Trish:The best cheerleading experience I have had so far was traveling to Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Qatar to visit the troops over the Christmas season in 2010. It was truly a rewarding experience that will always be with me. We were able to travel to 12 forward operating bases and combat outposts in the regional command north section of Afghanistan as well as join a Humanitarian Mission in Kyrgyzstan at the school for underprivileged children where we distributed hats and scarves and danced and played with the kids.
Best engineering-related experience?
One specific engineering-related experience I had was in college. I had the opportunity to travel with a group of engineering students to Kenya. In Kenya, we were able to help a community improve their drinking water and educate them about proper hygiene and water quality. We raised money to install well-built and reconstructed filtered springs, and we visited local orphanages, hospitals, and schools.
What’s one thing people might find especially surprising about you?
Trish:Besides being an NFL Cheerleader and an engineer, I am also a daredevil. I love to hike and water ski, snowboard, ATV. I have even gone skydiving three times!
If you could rewind the clock and change your degree, would you? If so, to what and why? If not, why not?
Trish:If for some reason I could not do engineering, I would go back to school for education and become a math, science, or engineering teacher because teaching is another passion of mine. I also feel like engineering has a positive impact on people, teaching does as well and I always want to help people in some way.
Why do you want to be a Science Cheerleader?
Trish:I would love to be a role model for younger girls in the community. I think it is important to inspire younger generations to strive to do their best in whatever they choose to do and to not worry about what others may think of them.