Mary Beth is a former St. Louis Rams cheerleader who’s studying to be a nurse practitioner in the pediatric intensive care unit. She’s the latest addition to our team of Science Cheerleaders. Read on!
What got you interested in science?
Mary Beth: Since I can remember, I have always loved science. My favorite subjects in school were always my science and math classes.
You have a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from St. Louis University and are pursuing a Master’s Degree in Nursing to become a Nurse Practitioner. What is the difference between a Nurse Practitioner and a Registered Nurse?
Mary Beth: I have been a bedside nurse for the past six years in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. I am always being challenged with my job and am always learning new things. Becoming a nurse practitioner seemed like a natural progression for my desire to continue learning about caring for critically ill children. As a Nurse Practitioner, I will be assessing patients and gathering information from them to make a diagnosis and then coming up with a treatment plan that will help them to recover. This is different from the role of a registered nurse in that the registered nurse helps to carry out the patient’s treatment plan through interventions such as administering medications, monitoring vital signs, and providing daily care. In becoming a Nurse Practitioner I hope to expand upon my current role in the healthcare team.
Best part of your day job or studies?
Mary Beth: The best part of my day is when I know I have made a difference in caring for my patient. It is extremely rewarding to be a part of the healthcare team that helps a critically ill child recover and return to their life before they were sick.
Which came first: your interest in science or cheerleading?
Mary Beth: I don’t think one was before the other. As long as I can remember I have had a love of both performing and science.
What got you into professional cheerleading?
Mary Beth: I cheered from 2005-2011 for the St. Louis Rams. Performing has always been a part of my life. I danced throughout grade school, high school, and college. Once I graduated from Saint Louis University, I was looking for an avenue to continue performing and remain active in the community, and the Rams were the perfect place for me to do that.
Best cheerleading experience?
Mary Beth: I truly cherish all my experiences as a cheerleader. I suppose if I had to choose one I would say my favorite was a trip I took overseas to visit our troops. A group of five of us traveled to Afghanistan to entertain and offer our gratitude to the men and women of our military who were serving our nation there. We visited multiple forward operating bases each day for performances and were able to thank them personally for the sacrifices they made daily to protect our freedom. It was very humbling and is something I will remember fondly for a very long time.
How did your fellow cheerleaders accept your interest in science?
Mary Beth: All the women I cheered with were very driven in achieving their career goals. I cheered with women who were teachers, lawyers, public relations professionals, business owners, financial representatives, and accountants. We were always very supportive and excited to share in one another’s successes.
Do you feel that your work as a professional cheerleader has helped or hindered your career?
Mary Beth: I feel that I am most definitely taken seriously in my profession. My colleagues have always been supportive of my activity as a cheerleader.
Do you have any advice for youngsters who might feel torn between following one dream and another?
Mary Beth: My advice would be that you can most definitely do both! I was able to follow my dream of working as a nurse and still be on the sideline cheering on Sundays for my favorite team.
Along these lines, what advice would you give your 12-year-old self?
Mary Beth: I would encourage myself to follow my heart and dreams. I would also remind myself that the goals I set out to achieve are entirely attainable through hard work and perseverance.
Why do you want to be a Science Cheerleader?
Mary Beth: I have always enjoyed breaking the stereotype of what people view as a typical cheerleader. Many people think that cheerleading is our career and don’t realize that for most of us it is really a hobby. We truly love performing and being active in our communities. But we are also intelligent, successful young women who have thriving careers during the week when we are not on the football field each Sunday. I welcome any chance I have to help break that stereotype!