Doran: San Francisco 49ers Cheerleader and Clinical Research Coordinator

Science Cheerleader Britney here to introduce you to rookie San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush Cheerleader, Doran! Finding her joy in medicine early in life, Doran is a Clinical Research Coordinator helping to bring innovative treatments to patients. Read below to learn more about Doran.

What turned you on to STEM and when
My grandmother is a big influence in my life. Growing up watching her love working in the medical field made me want to have that same joy in life. Once I began taking my science courses, I fell in love and knew that this was the right path for me.

Photo courtesy of SF 49ers Gold Rush Cheerleaders

Why did you try out to be a cheerleader?
Growing up, dance was always an anchor in my life. My parents would make sure that I had a place to dance in every place I moved as a child and young adult. As I graduated college and moved out on my own, it was time for me to find my own space and that included finding somewhere I could dance. In my journey to finding a place to dance, I joined a community of women that had the same goals and love for dance as me. Through this program, I was introduced to the pro dance world and decided that pro cheer was the place I needed to be.

Please describe what you do in your science career on a daily basis.
I work as a Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) at a university. As a research coordinator, I oversee the running of clinical trials for my department. Clinical trials allow us to come up with and test new and exciting medications, treatments, and technologies. I spend most of my time educating patients on new and innovative technology and treatments and giving them the opportunity to try them out. The goal of most clinical research is to improve and advance our understanding of the human body and medicine by testing scientific theories in a safe and effective environment.

Doran present her findings as a Clinical Research Coordinator at a conference (photo courtesy of Doran)

What does it mean for you to be practicing in STEM? 
As a Clinical Research Coordinator, my biggest contribution to STEM is being able to help bring the creativity and innovation of physicians to life. All the treatments and medications we have today, that are regulated by the FDA, began as just ideas from doctors. Once these ideas were tested, with the help of a CRC like me, they became tools that help save people’s lives every day.

How do the qualities that make you a great cheerleader benefit you in your STEM career?
As a professional cheerleader, you are expected to be an ambassador for your organization and your team. As a CRC, I use this skill to advocate for my research in the same ways that I have learned to advocate for my organization.

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 negative stereotypes about cheerleaders? Have you faced a situation where you had to challenge a stereotype about cheerleaders [or being a woman in a STEM field]?
The conversation around the negative stereotypes about cheerleaders is very important, because those stereotypes still very much shape the way people view women as cheerleaders. In my journey, I’ve found that most people assume that cheerleaders are incapable of having a serious career while also being a cheerleader. The only way we will be able to break these stereotypes is to be more vocal about who we are and what we can do. Also representing ourselves not only as cheerleaders but also as leaders in our society.

Best cheerleading experience?
The best cheerleading experiences I’ve had are the moments where I truly get to know my teammates and make memories with them. The women that I get to dance with are incredible and all unique and just getting to know them is such a gift.

Best health-related experience?
My best healthcare-related experience has been hearing from our patients the positive impact that our research has made in their lives. Many of our patients call often or drop by just to let us know that we are positively impacting their lives. I couldn’t ask for a better experience.

What advice would you give your 12-year-old self?
Pay attention, open your ears and eyes and listen!! Take every opportunity you can to learn as much as you can from everyone around you. There is so much more to learn, and you can start today. Go above and beyond and push harder when things feel hard. Don’t give up, your mind and body can handle more than you could imagine.

What’s one thing people might find especially surprising about you?
I also love to bake. In my off time, I love experimenting with new recipes and sharing with friends.