Meet the Real Brains of the NFL’s Ravens-Patriots Game!

hilary 76ers science cheerleader

Hilary at the 76ers’ Science Cheerleader night (2014)

Science Cheerleader Hilary here! I cheered at Colgate and I’m getting my PhD in Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology from Brown.

I’m also a regional coordinator here at Science Cheerleader.

While you watch the Patriots take on Ravens this weekend, keep this in mind: The New England Patriots have eleven cheerleaders pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math! I’ve showcased a few, below!

The Baltimore Ravens have thirteen science cheerleaders this year and my fellow Science Cheerleader, Megan (an engineer who cheered for the Washington Redskins) showcased them in this post.

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s meet some of this year’s Science Cheerleaders from the New England Patriots!

Kelly: Ph.D. candidate Cognitive Neuroscience

Kelly: Ph.D. candidate Cognitive Neuroscience

“I am in my fourth year (of five) of a PhD program in Cognitive Neuroscience. I am also a psychology and neuroscience professor in the Boston area.

I decided to major in psychology during college because I find the science of human behavior incredibly fascinating. I soon decided to specialize in the area of memory research (and particularly how sleep affects memory for emotional experiences), in which I discovered that utilizing neuroimaging methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study brain activity adds a whole new dimension to understanding complex cognitive processes. My sleep and memory research has implications for education and also clinical disorders such as PTSD, and considering we spend approximately a third of our lives sleeping, I think it’s important to understand it!

I would like to be a full-time/tenured psychology and neuroscience professor and researcher. Being a part-time faculty member while I finish my Ph.D. is unbelievably rewarding, and doing this for the rest of my life would be a dream.”

Alyssa: Biomedical Engineering

Alyssa: Biomedical Engineering

“I am currently a senior undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut studying Biomedical engineering as a major and obtaining a minor in Materials Science and Engineering.

I decided I wanted to go into engineering because I enjoyed math and science in high school. I then decided that the biomedical field of engineering was perfect because I love helping people and wanted to integrate problem solving with medicine.

In the future, I would like to move into clinical engineering which is based within the biomedical department of a hospital. If I became a clinical engineer, I would be the liaison between patient safety and medical device producers. This would be my dream job because I would constantly be surrounded by people that I could possibly help and improve their lives.”

 

Megan: Accountant

Megan: Accountant

“I earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I studied accounting and currently work as an accountant for Liberty Mutual Insurance.

I chose to pursue a degree in accounting because I possess many of the skill sets necessary to be successful in the profession. I have always been very detail oriented and organized. Although math didn’t necessarily come easily to me during school, I enjoyed the subject because it challenged me to apply myself until I had solved a problem. I am drawn to the objectivity of math – if you think logically and take the appropriate steps to manipulate numbers, you can essentially prove something with numbers alone. There is something satisfying about that!

While my short-term goal is to continue to progress within the accounting field, I would like to explore other avenues of corporate America further down the road. I enjoy working with numbers, but I also have an outgoing and extroverted side, so people-oriented professions such as those in human resources and marketing are of particular interest to me. I believe that understanding the accounting and finance principles behind corporate operations will serve as a solid foundation that allows me to branch into different career opportunities within the business world. In fact, many of our CEOs come from accounting backgrounds, which goes to show the criticality that accounting plays in understanding how business functions as a whole.”

 

Melanie: Dentist

Melanie: Dentist

 

“I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Connecticut and will graduate in May of 2015 from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine with a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree.

I’ve wanted to become a dentist ever since I was a little girl, but I became more interested in the career after realizing it is a combination of science, art, and service, all things I wanted to incorporate into a career.

I plan to begin practicing as an associate dentist after graduation and possibly open my own dental practice in the future.”

 

Erica science cheerleader patriots cheerleader

Erica: Biology

“My STEM experience focuses strongly on the Health Sciences. I studied nursing at Boston College in the Connell School of nursing, where I was able to gain clinical experience working in the general medicine unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. I graduated from Boston College with a combined degree in Biology, Applied Psychology and Human Development.

I grew up with a passion for science. And particularly in high school, became fascinated with biology, and physics. My father is a cardiologist, so I was always familiar with the health sciences. I volunteered at Caritas Norwood hospital when I was a sophomore, and I knew right away that that was a career path that I was interested in possibly pursuing someday.

I am now in the process of continuing my education in STEM through graduate school. I am hoping to expand my degree either in nursing, focusing on pediatric oncology or psychology.”

 

kristen science cheerleader patriots cheerleader

Kristen: Physical Therapy

“I am currently in school to become a physical therapist.

Throughout high school, I was very interested in pursuing some type of career in the health sciences. I loved chemistry, biology, and anatomy classes, and a career in the medical field seemed to me to be extremely rewarding. I first considered becoming a physical therapist after watching my mom receive physical therapy after a total knee replacement. I shadowed a few physical therapists and fell in love with the career. My decision to become a physical therapist was really confirmed after my grandmother suffered from a stroke two years ago. She needed extensive physical therapy after the stroke, but it was amazing to see her regain her strength and relearn so much of what she had lost. In the future, I hope to get a job working as a physical therapist.”

 

Lauren science cheerleader patriots cheerleader

Lauren: Masters in Health Education

“I have a Bachelors and Masters in Education from Boston University in Physical Education, Health Education, and Coaching. I am currently a Fitness and Health teacher at Wellesley Middle School.

As a dancer I took an early interest in the human body, how it works, and how to maximize its potential. I have also always loved to teach fitness and dance at summer camps. My university had a track where I could combine both of those passions, and I graduated with a license to teach in Massachusetts, as well as certifications in personal training and group exercise.

I would like to develop curriculum for public schools to easily integrate alternative fitness into their Physical Education programs (i.e.: HIIT, Urban Rebounding, Yoga).”

 

Brittany science cheerleader patriots cheerleader

Brittany: Masters Degree, Mental Health and Addictions

“I have a Master’s Degree from the University of Connecticut in Social Work and I am currently working as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in an outpatient hospital setting, specializing in behavioral and mental health treatment. I work as part of a medical team alongside a Child Psychiatrist (who provides pharmacological treatment to some patients), by providing psychotherapy services to children, adolescents and their families.   An area of my clinical specialty is Trauma-informed care, whereas, I conduct Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to children who have suffered some form of trauma such as abuse, neglect or traumatic grief.

I decided to focus on mental health and addiction services following several years as a camp counselor and volunteer working with children and families. Having had much exposure to many of the issues troubling our youth today, I felt I had a responsibility to our community to provide an avenue of support to those who are struggling.

In the future, I hope to earn a PhD in Social Work and continue to teach aspiring social work students. I have had an opportunity to instruct as an adjunct professor for two years at Central Connecticut State University, which inspired my interest to advance my own learning at some point in the future.”

 

Hannah Science Cheerleader Patriots cheerleader

Hannah: Psychology

“I’m pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Psychology.

I chose Psychology because I have always been intrigued by the different ways people function based on their brain structure, diagnoses, or strictly the environment they were brought up in. Learning about the different factors and roles that they play in individuals is enlightening!

I want to go into some type of mental health counseling whether it is in a sober house, a hospital, or even working with specific cases that involve families, relationships, or individual problems.”

All Photo credits: Justin Hammond

(Remember to check out the Science of NFL Football video series we helped put together with NBC Learn, NBC Sports, the NFL and the National Science Foundation!)