What turned you on to science and when? I was enrolled in several science classes during my high school years, including physics and chemistry. I discovered that I had an affinity for the sciences, which helped me excel in my classes. My brother is a nephrologist, and he piqued my interest in the medical field, which, coupled with my passion for the sciences, propelled me to pursue a STEM-related career.
Why did you try out to be a cheerleader? I began my dancing career at the age of three, dancing tap and jazz, and became a ballroom dancer at the age of twelve, learning styles such as the cha-cha and jive. In addition, I cheered for my high school team for four years. Upon entering college, I wasn’t about to give up my passion for dance, and the challenge of becoming an NFL cheerleader was my way of continuing dancing at the highest level.
How are you involved in STEM on a daily basis? I have been in college for the past four years, enrolled in numerous science, lab, and math courses, such as biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, and statistics. In my last two years of college, I participated in an internship in which I assisted the Physical Therapists with ultrasounds, ice and stimulation, and application of hot packs. Recently, I applied to a Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program in hopes of pursing my dream job!
What does it mean for you to be studying STEM? I feel that practicing and pursuing the field of physical therapy will allow me to assist patients in restoring their mobility, improving bodily functions and relieving pain they may be experiencing due to various circumstances. I am passionate about having a positive effect in society by helping individuals restore their physical, mental, and emotional faculties.
How do the qualities that make you a great cheerleader benefit you in your STEM career? Being an NFL cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins has helped me see that success is a direct result of the effort and dedication expended into achieving it. Time management, determination, and relentlessness to strive for excellence as a cheerleader have all been contributing factors to my STEM career.
How do you feel about breaking down negative stereotypes about cheerleaders? I am unmoved by stereotypes that cheerleaders may be associated with because as an NFL cheerleader I am able to fulfill my passion of dancing in addition to being a role model for young girls. Five years as a cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins have proven to me what an iconic group of girls this team really is. We strive to be ambassadors for the organization, not only on the sidelines, but also as professionals, athletes, and students. We’re extremely hard-working individuals who always think about ways to inspire females through physical fitness and public speaking. I’ve been on multiple hospital and school visits and charity events. The organization is absolutely incredible and I hope to stay involved with it for the rest of my life.
Best cheerleading experience? I was fortunate enough to be selected to visit our military troops overseas in Ethiopia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Spain, Italy, and Egypt. It was a very rewarding, humbling, and unforgettable experience. We were thrilled to bring the troops a piece of home. The girls and I got to know the valiant men and women and were able to speak to them about their families and what they do to serve our country on a daily basis. We also performed for them, and they welcomed us with open arms and gave us a tour of their military bases. It was an incredibly fulfilling trip, one that I’ll never forget.
What advice would you give your 12-year-old self? Set short- and long-term goals and stay the course regardless of obstacles that may come along the way in achieving those goals.