Science Cheerleader Britney here, bringing you an update on veteran Miami Dolphins Cheerleader Jess! You may remember Jess from her interview last year. With a passion for helping others, Jess is pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and working as a School Nurse, all on top of being an NFL cheerleader! Read below to learn more about what Jess has been up to since we last caught up.
What turned you on to STEM and when?
My father and grandma are the ones who turned me on to STEM. My dad is an engineer and growing up he helped me with all my science projects and math homework. He always stayed up late nights with me trying to draw or figure out an equation. He was one of my biggest influencers in grade school. On the other hand, my grandma, who is a registered nurse, helped guide me through college in all my nursing courses. She was my biggest supporter and one of the reasons I went into the field of nursing.
Why did you try out to be a cheerleader?
Being a Miami Dolphins Cheerleader was never in my career plans. I like to think I have the best of both worlds. It is truly a blessing being able to do two things I love on a weekly basis. I tried out to be a Miami Dolphins Cheerleader because one of my nursing colleagues told me about the auditions and thought I would be a great asset to the team. Growing up I danced, so I just used those abilities to get me through auditions. I took a leap of faith that day and was so thankful I made it all the way through.
Please describe what you do in your science career on a daily basis.
I recently became a school nurse; however, most of my experience is working as a night shift nurse. I worked on a general medical floor where I mainly saw elderly and critical patients. My nights consisted of passing out patient medication and making sure everyone was pain free and able to sleep peacefully. Each patient had different needs, some being more severe than others. I spent most of my time with my patients or at the nurses’ station charting and evaluating patients. The goal of my work was to make sure everyone was as comfortable as possible, and their hospital visit as short as possible. Each night we wanted to see progress; we wanted everyone to get better, so they could go home and see their loved ones.
What does it mean for you to be practicing in STEM?
It means a lot for me to be practicing STEM. I love helping people and giving back to my community. I always knew I wanted to do something in the medical field. As a medical professional, it is my duty to help all: the poor and the rich. I hope that one day we can find a cure to the many diseases that are affecting our world today. I help people not wanting anything in return, that is when you know you have a passion for something.
How do the qualities that make you a great cheerleader benefit you in your STEM career?
Being able to greet people and converse has helped me in my career. Every day I am at work I am always smiling and showing everyone the utmost respect. My cheerleading career has helped me so much in becoming a more open and sociable person.
There are stereotypes about cheerleaders in our society that make it seem unlikely that a cheerleader could be a medical professional. Obviously, these stereotypes are untrue, and you are a great example of that. How do you feel about breaking down these negative stereotypes?
Women are battling stereotypes daily. I think it is our job to combat these stereotypes by just showing how well rounded we are. I love both of my jobs very much and would not give up one for the other. I like to call myself a jack-of-all-trades. While I’m working as a nurse, at times my colleagues feel I should just be a cheerleader because “it’s such a fun job and all [cheerleaders] do is play in make-up.” Yes, it is a fun job. However, we do so much more in our community. As we continue to serve our community, more and more people will see how intelligent and diverse we are. I love that the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders are focused on fitness, nutrition, service, and so much more.
Best cheerleading experience?
My best cheerleading experience was when I was selected as one of the 2018 Cover Girls. This year our 2018 annual cover focused on representing to every little girl, every woman and every person that being themselves is their greatest power. That they are beautiful just the way they are and can be joyful in this knowledge. That feeling is the best pleasure one can have. Our 2018 Fashion Show and cover taught me to be comfortable in my own skin.
Best science-related experience?
My best science related experience was working in the ER and reviving someone who was in cardiac arrest.
What advice would you give your 12-year-old self?
The best advice I would give my 12-year-old self is to not rush life. Have fun while you can!
What’s one thing people might find especially surprising about you?
I think one thing people find surprising about me is that I hope to be a trauma nurse one day. I really want to help those who are in dire need. Being a trauma nurse takes a lot of mental preparation, and I’m ready to tackle it.