As you follow the NFL playoffs in the coming weeks, keep in mind the balancing acts on the sidelines! The Patriots Cheerleaders below manage success both on the line and in their STEM careers—make sure you cheer them on while you watch the game!
Alyssa: Biomedical and Clinical Engineering
I am currently in a Biomedical Engineering master’s program at the University of Connecticut and I’m also completing an internship in Clinical Engineering at UMass Memorial Medical Center. I did my undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, where I learned about and became interested in clinical engineering. Clinical engineering is technology management within a hospital. Although I am not directly helping people as a nurse or doctor would, I am helping to ensure patient safety by making sure that all devices are working correctly so that all patients have the best possible care while in the hospital. In the future, I hope to get a job in clinical engineering either in a hospital or an industry where I can help in the design of medical devices. No matter where I end up, I want to be in health technology management and ensure patient safety. I believe that being a cheerleader has helped me to be social in my job and has also improved my communication skills. Sometimes I do have to enter hospital rooms, and being able to communicate effectively with all types of patients and families is so important. I also think my career path has shown me how to be affectionate towards my teammates. Taking care of people is what I do best. Being able to do that both on my team and in my career is an amazing feeling. In my community, I have fostered and adopted a puppy and also am an active part in making the rescue he came from known and helping them with their mission.
Erica: Biology and Psychology
I graduated from the Connell School of Nursing at Boston College with degrees in applied psychology and human development as well as biology. I became interested in the medical sciences at a young age because both my father and grandfather are cardiologists. In high school I was a junior volunteer at Caritas Norwood Hospital, which is when I really discovered my passion. I hope to go back to graduate school to receive a master’s degree in Nursing, and I hope to work in pediatric oncology specifically. The medical sciences require a lot of positivity when interacting with people (patients and families). I have been able to apply these skills and even build them through cheerleading. Interacting with fans and people throughout the community has helped me to practice my speaking skills. I have been fortunate to be able to combine my STEM and cheerleading professions. I have also participated in several Science Cheerleader appearances in which I have been able to encourage STEM careers to young cheerleaders, which has been so rewarding!
Allison: Health Education
In 2013, I earned a BS in Health Education from Worcester State University. I currently supervise a unit at an intensive residential treatment program at the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital. We specialize in utilizing collaborative and holistic solutions for adolescents who have suffered from trauma such as abuse or neglect. My interest in health and wellness stemmed from my own personal health journey. For several years, I suffered from childhood obesity. Fast forward about 10 years, and I can proudly say I lost over 40 pounds and dropped 10 jean sizes! Becoming a New England Patriots Cheerleader has not only improved my overall personal growth, it has taught me the value of volunteering and discipline. These are the same values I share with my community. Through my skills in health education, I encourage others to maintain positive lifestyles. I founded and facilitate the “I Can, I Will” fitcamps which consists of a one hour, full body workout! This upcoming year, I plan to enroll in graduate school to pursue my master’s degree in health education. My overall goal is to share general health care messages in an effort to prepare and empower communities to value and engage in life-long healthy, positive lifestyles.
Kristen: Physical Therapy
I am currently in my first year of graduate school to earn my Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Simmons College. I first became interested in physical therapy in high school as I was starting my college search. My mom actually suggested that I look into the field after she had received physical therapy for a knee replacement. As I researched the profession, I started to fall in love with the idea of becoming a physical therapist. I always had an interest in the medical field and I loved all of my science and anatomy courses in high school. As I applied to college, I made sure that all of the schools I applied to had physical therapy programs, and I am so excited to continue my journey to become a physical therapist. Right now, I am really interested in going into stroke rehabilitation. A few years ago, my grandmother suffered from a large stroke. She completely lost control of one side of her body. After working with occupational therapists and physical therapists, she was able to regain her speech and a lot of her strength. My grandmother’s physical therapists gave her so much hope that she could recover. I think that working in stroke rehabilitation would be an extremely rewarding experience, but I am still open to many other areas of physical therapy. I think there is a strong connection between cheerleading and physical therapy. My awareness of movement and the human body, after years of dancing and cheerleading, has helped me to understand anatomy and how the body works. Also, physical therapists are just like cheerleaders for their patients! They encourage their patients to stay motivated and lead them through their recovery.
Madelyn: Masters in Clinical Nutrition
I am a registered dietitian. I received a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and my Master’s in Clinical Nutrition. I originally wanted to be a doctor, but chose nutrition instead. I am so happy I switched majors, as I love the field I am in! I have recently accepted a position at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston as a full time clinical dietitian (my dream job) and I cannot wait to start! Being in the sciences and having to take difficult classes has taught me how a little hard work can go a long way. I have been able to reach goals I never thought I would, and it has taught me that if you want something badly enough, there is nothing that can stand in your way. While I was in school I participated in a community event with Jumbos Kitchen, a non-profit organization run by the Tufts University Nutrition students. We taught cooking classes to elementary school kids to help them learn about the different kinds of nutritious foods they could eat.
Lauren: Masters in Health Education
I have a Bachelor’s and Master’s from Boston University in Physical Education, Health Education, and Coaching. I am currently a Fitness and Health teacher at Wellesley Middle School. As a dancer, I took an early interest in the human body, how it works, and how to maximize its potential. I have also always loved to teach fitness and dance at summer camps. My university had a track where I could combine both of those passions, and I graduated with a license to teach in Massachusetts, as well as certifications in personal training and group exercise. In the future, I would like to develop a curriculum for public schools to easily integrate alternative fitness into their Physical Education programs (ie: HIIT, Urban Rebounding, Yoga). My time as a professional cheerleader has brought incredible awareness to my personal fitness. I have been able to share those lessons with my students, and help them set appropriate health and fitness goals. As a Patriots Cheerleader I am constantly engaged in the community sharing my love for health and wellness. One of my favorite events of the year was a Fuel Up to Play60 event at the stadium–the kids who attended learned important lessons about how to eat healthy and balanced meals, as well as fun ways to stay fit each day.
I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. In addition to dancing, I had a very strong passion for helping others and learning how to be a confident and effective leader. I wanted to pursue this as much as possible so I could keep this passion in my everyday life. Since the field is so broad, I have many options for the future. I have always wanted to get into the mental health counseling aspect of psychology, but I have also recently found an interest in leadership development in a college setting. I would like to work with college students as a mentor or advisor and aid with the transition from school to the professional world. Being a Patriots Cheerleader has given me the skills to be a confident and effective leader. As a captain, I have learned to be a positive role model for the rest of my teammates while also gaining the skills to lead with respect and professionalism. This connects with my STEM field by giving me experience working with a diverse group of people. I interact with different types of people every single day as a cheerleader and have learned many ways to connect and engage with specific individuals on a personal level.
All photos are credited to Justin Hammond.