Science Cheerleader Hilary here! After finishing my PhD in Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, I moved to Boston and I’m thrilled to share with you some other newcomers to the Science Cheerleader family in the Bay State! In the coming weeks we will be profiling many of my new hometown heroes, the New England Patriots Cheerleaders! Read on below for our first interview of the series, and stay tuned to hear about the amazing women on the squad supporting the Patriots on the field and supporting STEM every day!
Meet Ashley S., Patriots Cheerleader rookie and founder of Miss Pink, an organization that celebrates breast cancer survivors! Ashley has a bachelor’s degree in Biology, and is currently working towards her graduate degree at Harvard!
How did you become interest in science? My father is a pharmaceutical oncology and hematology specialist. He would travel and hold functions that educated physicians and medical professionals on new trends and medical advancements, specifically around new medications that helped patients overcome cancer. Even though I was young, he would allow me to travel and attend these meetings, luncheons, and conferences with him so he could demonstrate to me how important education is and why medical breakthroughs will save lives. These experiences influenced my passion behind understanding the human anatomy and also created a sense of ongoing curiosity in me that, even to this day, makes me want to continue learning and continue educating people on medical advancements.
Why did you try out to be a cheerleader? Being a New England Patriots Cheerleader allows you to have an extremely positive impact and influence on the community, especially on young women. This team is an incredible example of the positive outcome that derives from empowering each other. These cheerleaders are confident and intelligent women who support each other and hold each other accountable for being their best selves. To create an environment where you are positively challenged to be your best self is rare and being a Patriots Cheerleader allows me to experience this. It also allows me to be an example to future generations!
Tell me about your career and Miss Pink. I help to establish relationships between local breast cancer patients and their medical staff. As the founder of Miss Pink, my goal is to identify the weakest areas of financial and physical support for breast cancer patients and their families. I work with patient navigators to help me identify the families that are in the most urgent need and we reach out to them to see how we can support them. Another part of my job is to help determine allocated funds for research. I get to work with biochemical engineers and scientists to support up-and-coming research in the Boston area, as it applies to the study of breast cancer. I get to apply my love for science with my love for philanthropy and community outreach.
What advice would you give your 12-year-old self? That thinking differently is not a bad thing; in fact it can be an advantage. Also to be confident in who you are and in what you want to pursue in life.
What’s one thing people might find especially surprising about you? When I was 18 I was diagnosed with a small benign brain tumor. It’s completely fine and has no impact on my quality of life. But discovering this was very scary. It definitely gave me even more of a deeper appreciation for life.