Soldenise is a cheerleader for the Washington Redskins and an engineer. Her experience in the U.S. Air Force, where she specialized in bilingual telecommunication systems and information technology, led to her love of science and engineering!
Please tell us about your degrees.
Soldenise: I completed my undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Science majoring in Criminal Justice, and immediately enrolled in a graduate degree program. In 2006 I earned a Masters Degree: Masters of Science (Security Management).
Favorite and/or least favorite courses you took to prepare for your degree?
Soldenise: As funny as it may sound my least favorite courses were all math courses! I have always struggled with math courses and honestly speaking became “lazy” with it. Regardless, I knew if I wanted to successfully complete my degrees I would need to keep my head in the books! My favorite courses were Law Enforcement/Information Security courses because often times they required me to conduct lots of analytical research!
Why did you try out to be a professional cheerleader?
Soldenise: When I joined the military is when I stopped dancing. Unfortunately, there weren’t any dance studios within walking distance to me. Dancing for me became a fond memory, and I just began telling myself that one day I would get back into it. That one day came 11 years later! I was extremely happy with my career and level of education and professional experience; however, I realized something was missing. All my friends were (and still are) in the military, which required them all to move away. I missed having my friends around. What better way to meet great women from all walks of life and dance, dance, dance! I did not make the cheer squad my first year trying out, but I was given a great opportunity to represent the cheer squad and organization as a Washington Redskins Cheerleader Ambassador (WRCA). Being a WRCA taught me a lot about the organization, the woman, the discipline, the teamwork, and life! The following year I decided to try out again for the cheer squad. I am very proud to say that today I am a WRCA veteran, and a Washington Redskins Cheerleader!
What’s a typical day like for you?
Soldenise: A typical day for me requires a 5 a.m. wake up call from my adorable 3 pound dog named Sassy. I usually report to work around 7:30 a.m. working until 5 p.m. At work my responsibilities consists of leading a team of 7, completing several additional tasks from my boss, overseeing all projects for my team, reviewing technical and security documentation, and evaluating the security information systems. My work site is about an hour from the stadium, so as soon as I run out of the office I am rushing to beat the traffic make it to practice!
Do you find that stereotypes about cheerleaders helped or hindered you?
Soldenise: I believe my awareness of the stereotypes, the support I am given by my family, boss, co-workers, and my WRC family, and my educational and professional accomplishments prove stereotypes to be untrue. This support is what truly shows me that I am taken seriously both as an information security engineer for the Department of Homeland Security and as a Washington Redskins Cheerleader for the NFL.
Do you have any advice for youngsters who might feel torn between following one dream and another?
Soldenise: My advice to youngsters would be to follow all your dreams. Figure out a way to make them work together. Dreams may differ greatly, but that does not mean you have to fit a certain stereotype in order to accomplish certain dreams. Youngsters should only feel proud of themselves for dreaming, and for trying to accomplish those dreams. Keep moving forward and pay no mind to any negativity.
Along these lines, what advice would you give your 12-year-old self?
Soldenise: The advice I would give my 12-year-old self would be “If you don’t try you will never know, and if at first you don’t succeed try again!”
What are your plans for the future?
Soldenise: My plans for the future include continued success and education in support of my science and technology career, getting married, and building a family!
Best cheerleading experience?
Soldenise: My best cheerleading experience has to be going to Kuwait and Egypt on an AFE tour as a U.S. Veteran and a Redskins Cheerleader to support our troops. I love the U.S. military and am grateful for what they do. It allowed me the opportunity to serve in a different capacity!
What’s one thing people might find especially surprising about you?
Soldenise: I love fashion, clothes, hair, make-up, and food, but I don’t care to wear make-up every day! I love to wear big sweatpants and t-shirts when I’m not at work or cheering.
If you could rewind the clock and change your degree, would you? If so, to what and why? If not, why not?
Soldenise: I am very happy with the decisions I’ve made and the opportunities I’ve been blessed with. I wouldn’t change anything because the opportunities and blessings I’ve received have allowed me to add new experiences and skills. I guess the best way to explain it is I keep moving forward, if I find something new I’d like to try I find a way to make it a part of my life without having to rewind the clock!
Why do you want to be a Science Cheerleader?
Soldenise: One of my favorite things to do is to be a mentor, to help anyone I can help, which in turn allows me to give back. Being a Science Cheerleader would help me reach out to the youth in a different way!