Please welcome Brittany, our latest Science Cheerleader from the NBA who cheered for the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs. She holds a degree in psychology and works in an information technology field.
Brittany: I earned my degree at Houston Baptist University. My mother has her degree in Psychology and she is my role model, so I was definitely influenced by her.
You’re working as an account executive in the information technology industry. How did that happen?
Brittany: IT is interesting to me because it is a field that is constantly changing so I decided to test out this field. I always have something new to learn!
What is the most useful thing you learned in college?
Brittany: During my senior year of college I began volunteering at a hospice as part of my senior internship. I started visiting people weekly who were in their last few months of life, which is something I still do. Many patients are without family or friends, and just need someone to listen to their stories in order to feel a sense of fulfillment. In daily conversations, many people don’t listen to what the other person is saying, they just wait for their turn to speak. During my internship I learned how to “actively” listen to people in order to fully understand their needs. I believe that this helps me in my job and in my personal life as well.
You were an NBA cheerleader until recently. Why did you audition to be a professional cheerleader?
Brittany: I was a Houston Rockets dancer for 4 seasons and a San Antonio Spurs dancer for 1 season. I have been a dancer and cheerleader my entire life, so dancing professionally was always a dream of mine. My high school drill team coach was a former professional dancer and she convinced me to audition. As soon as I met the age requirement, I auditioned, and the rest is history!
How did your fellow cheerleaders accept your interest in science?
Brittany: Many other cheerleaders were in the science or technology field as well, so there were always conversations about common interests.
Do you find that stereotypes about cheerleaders helped or hindered your studies or professional experiences?
Brittany: Being a cheerleader can come with negative stereotypes, but it is great to be able to prove them wrong. Many people don’t know that most professional teams require their members to hold full-time jobs or be full-time students. The girls are well spoken, educated, and talented dancers or they wouldn’t be chosen to represent such large organizations. I have found that people will label me initially because of my cheer background, but I believe that I am able to beat the stereotypes once they get to know me.
Best cheerleading experience?
Brittany: The best experience I had was being chosen to go to China with the Houston Rockets and dance in two NBA China Games in 2010. Being chosen to represent the organization across the world was a huge honor!
Best science/engineering-related experience?
Brittany: I am still new to the science world, so I would say that graduating from college has been my best experience to date.
If you could rewind the clock and change your degree, would you?
Brittany: I would not change my degree because it is very valuable to me. I am planning to go back to school to earn an additional degree in Nursing. I would like to become a Psychiatric Nurse or a Hospice Nurse, so my Psychology degree will definitely be beneficial for either position.
Do you have any advice for youngsters who might feel torn between following one dream and another?
Brittany: I would definitely advise them to follow both dreams! Being a cheerleader is a very valuable experience, but it is also a part-time career. Earning a degree and having a career should be your first priority.
Along these lines, what advice would you give your 12-year-old self?
Brittany: I would tell myself not to worry about what other people think, and to do the best job possible in every aspect of life.
What’s one thing people might find especially surprising about you?
Brittany: I think people are surprised to find out that I still volunteer at a hospice as a patient caregiver. Many people tell me that it would be too emotionally overwhelming for them, but I find it to be a very rewarding experience. Most of my patients have no friends or family left, so they really look forward to my visits.
What are your plans for the future?
Brittany: My future plans are to go back to school to earn another degree, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I also want to be married with children!
Why do you want to be a Science Cheerleader?
Brittany: I want to be a Science Cheerleader because it combines my two favorite things-Science and Cheerleading! I would love to be a positive influence and to help encourage kids to pursue a career in science.