Hi SciCheer fans, Samantha here! Check out the Science Cheerleaders you might find on the field this weekend!
Super Bowl LI is this weekend and both teams have a lot to be proud of. Not only are the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots conference champions, they each have over 10 Science Cheerleaders! These inspiring women managed to balance a grueling NFL season and STEM careers. We talked to a few of them to find out what life is like off the field.
Jenna: Electrical Engineering, New England Patriots
Being a cheerleader has definitely had a positive impact on both my life and engineering career because it has molded me into a driven person with great time-management skills, and it also inspired me to pursue a STEM career. When I was younger I attended a Junior Patriots Cheerleading camp and as each Patriots Cheerleader introduced themselves, there was one in particular who really impressed me and stuck out. I instantly admired her as she discussed her career in engineering, how rewarding it was to make an impact on the world, and how she balanced life as an engineer and cheerleader. She opened my eyes that a cheerleader can be more than a pretty face and that the entire Patriots Cheerleading squad is about being a talented person both on and off the field.
Annemarie: Information Technology, Atlanta Falcons
It is beyond intimidating starting a job where you are the youngest by 10+ years, where the industry is male dominated, where you are known as “the cheerleader,” and where unfortunately most people do have a skewed perception of cheerleaders. I really let this “feeling of being inadequate” hinder my confidence especially in my first year of my career but because of these stereotypes. I was and am inspired to work that much harder and show fellow employees, customers, managers and all who know me that I am intelligent, and I can achieve and exceed sales quotas and get challenging technology certifications, and understand abstract complex technologies while being a proud NFL cheerleader at the same time.
Theresa: Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, New England Patriots
I graduated from Yale University with a B.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. I am currently working at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard as a research associate in the laboratory of Feng Zhang. I am helping to develop a genome-editing platform by harnessing the crazy genome rearrangement pathway found in ciliated protozoa. Genome editing, or the ability to change the DNA code of human cells, allows us to further understand complicated genetic diseases such as cancer and someday could be used in therapeutics. I am currently applying to PhD programs in Biochemistry and Biophysics and I hope to continue contributing to scientific discovery throughout my career.
Aleria: Data Analytics, Atlanta Falcons
Determination is one of the most important connections to me because achievement is never a straight line. There will always be roadblocks to any goal that you have, but you have to decide to see it through. Another connection is teamwork. Frequently in business, you have to work as a team to accomplish an objective. You win as a team and lose as a team. Realizing that my best chance of success was putting my best foot forward and working well with others has helped me professionally because I am able to work effectively toward a common goal. On a team of 36 women with 36 different personalities, being able to work with everyone is definitely a necessity!
Jennifer P.: Health Policy and Advanced Practice Nursing (NP), New England Patriots
This major opened my eyes to the complexities of our current health care system and allowed me to think critically about how I can make a difference in developing healthier communities. It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I became interested in advanced practice nursing. The nursing profession is unique because the nurse takes into account a person’s entire being when creating a plan of care. Nurses work day and night to promote healthier lifestyles and form a unique bond with patients. Passion and dedication are two important values to possess when working as a nurse. These two values have also proven to be important all throughout my dancing career, which ultimately led me to the New England Patriots Cheerleading Squad. Building relationships with patients and communicating with different providers is essential to being a successful NP. The squad has only made my communication skills stronger as I continue to interact with fans in the community.
Melissa: Nutrition and Dietetics, New England Patriots
In the future, I hope to open my own private practice offering nutritional counseling to people. I would love for this to include but not be limited to inpatients, outpatients, and people just looking to improve their current health status. Cheerleading and dancing have both contributed greatly to my passion for nutrition because staying healthy and motivated is extremely important when practicing and performing. Taking care of the body and providing it with proper nutrients are key for maximizing your success, whether you are performing on a football field or working hard at the office.
Allison: Health Education, New England Patriots
Through my skills in health education, I founded and facilitate the “I Can, I Will” fitcamps which consist of a one hour, full body workout. I firmly believe in overall wellness from emotional to physical health. My interest in wellness stemmed from my own personal health adversities. I suffered from childhood obesity and other health maladies. In the years that followed, I can happily say I lost over 40 pounds and dropped 10 jeans sizes! Being a New England Patriots Cheerleader in my second season has not only improved my overall personal development, it has taught me the value of time management, volunteerism and discipline. This upcoming year, I will be starting my master’s degree in health education and I am currently in a personal trainer certification program through ACE. My lifetime goal is to share general health care messages in an effort to prepare and empower communities to value and engage in life-long healthy, positive lifestyles.