Photo Credit: San Francisco 49ers

Hello, Science Cheerleader fans! As part of NFL Playoff season, we are interviewing some of the current professional cheerleaders who are cheering their teams in the playoffs while also pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. We will now turn our attention to the cheerleaders of the San Francisco 49ers. We’ll start with Amanda, who has and Associate’s degree in Biology and Bachelor’s degrees in Human Biology and how she uses her insights to mentor others.

How did you get interested in science?
I was interested in science from a very young age! It was always my favorite subject in school. I was particularly fascinated by the human body and mind. We’re an incredible species and it’s amazing to think about everything the body and mind are capable of!

Who had the most influence on your career choice?
I had two mentors growing up and they were by far my biggest influencers in my career path. Having a bit of a troubled childhood, my mentors were able to help guide me through life, finding the positive pieces to be excited about when it was so easy to focus on the negatives. It really shifted my mentality and outlook on life for the better and grew a motivation within myself to want to do the same for others. And this is what launched me into focusing in Human Biology!

How would you describe what you do?
I am now a mentor! I work in a program that is focused to encourage young children, teenagers, and young adults to gain self-confidence and to reach their full potential. We do a lot of activities like cooking classes, art/music sessions, tutoring help, and sports/exercise. We also have group meetings for some of our mentees who are a bit more advanced in our program to be able to sit in a group setting and discuss our individual issues and open it up for the group to provide feedback from peers as well as keeping our minds open that when we may be feeling alone in a situation. There’s a good chance that someone close to you may be going through something similar! We also provide similar programs and activities for those who may need more one-on-one attention.

How do you integrate your career with being a professional cheerleader?
The subject of Human Biology is pretty broad since we as a species are so complex, so I’ll break it down to two general studies that I integrate in being a professional cheerleader. First is health and fitness, or, taking care of our bodies. It is so imperative that with how much we dance and work out as a team that we take care of our bodies to keep them at an optimal performance level by keeping a reasonable and balanced diet; staying consistent with exercise; and focusing on preventative injury techniques like stretching! As far as the mind, I really do my best to be available to help my teammates with what they may need, whether it’s remembering a routine, or if they just need a friend to be there to listen. I always remind my friends that I’m just one phone call away! It’s just as important to be “mentally fit” as it is physically! Our team is super close and really, we’re more of a family, so I know that I can always lean on them and do lean on them for the same things that I try to make myself available for.

What’s your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part about my job is seeing the growth in the young adults that I get to be a part of mentoring. It allows me to not only remember how far I’ve come as an individual, but it reminds me to always keep going! I still sometimes have bad days as I feel anyone does, and when I go in for a group meeting or pizza day, I’ll see our mentees smiling and laughing as they share their day or weekend with one another. When I take a step back to see those interactions and conversations, it makes me proud to be someone who has gone through the program and can now give back to inspire young adults and continue to be inspired by them and those above me.

What’s been the best experience as an NFL cheerleader?
There are so many amazing experiences in what we all do: stepping out on the field; the honor of wearing the uniform and representing your favorite team; looking up in the stands and seeing the girls with pom poms who just dream of being where we’re standing. (Don’t worry – you’ll get there!) The best experience as an NFL cheerleader by far is the camaraderie within our team. This team of women constantly motivates me. The accomplishments among us are inspiring; practice is full of endless encouragement, compliments, and constructive feedback; and although we meet once a week for a full day, we all tend to pick up right where we left off as if we saw each other just an hour prior! It’s absolutely incredible, and such a blessing and honor to be part of a group of women that is so happy to support and love one another as much as we all do while also getting to represent the best team in the NFL, together.

What’s one thing people would find surprising about you?
Something people would find surprising about me is that although I live just half a day’s drive away from Lake Tahoe, I’ve only ever been there once and have never seen snow!

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