While the Patriots tally their touchdowns, New England Patriots Cheerleader rookie Caitrin may be the best-equipped person on the field for heavier math! Read on below to learn how she balances accounts and a demanding role as a Patriots Cheerleaders, keeping teamwork at the front of both fields!

What turned you on to STEM and when? I have always been interested in algebra since I was a little girl. On road trips from Massachusetts to Vermont with my dad, we would bring a mini white board and he would give me equations to solve. I loved that there was always an exact answer to find. 

Why did you try out to be a cheerleader?When I was younger I was always dancing around the house, and my parents enrolled me in dance classes around the age of five. Since that time dance has always been one of the biggest aspects of my life. I love that I can grow in a career like banking and continue to live out my passion on this team. It really is the best of both worlds!

Please describe what you do in your science career on a daily basis. Most of my day is spent working with customers to ensure we put them in the best products for their money. We compute interest on different products, communicate to customers what the financial benefits are for each product, and ensure we are following the regulations of the bank. I have been able to learn a lot about mortgages, home equity loans, retirement accounts, interest earned, and more, which are invaluable skills as a consumer.  

What does it mean for you to be practicing in STEM? It feels great to help people figure out their money management. Finances are a scary topic for a lot of people, and not everyone knows the different ways they can save, grow, or access their money. By guiding people in a positive direction, I know that I am giving them more confidence in taking control of their finances. Money doesn’t make you happy but having more knowledge about your financial situation gives you the control and empowers you to make decisions about your money instead of your money making decisions for you. 

How do the qualities that make you a great cheerleader benefit you in your STEM career? A lot of my work is customer service based. As a cheerleader, I make sure our fans are excited about a game or event and enjoy themselves. As a banker I use that enthusiasm to make people feel welcome and comfortable in the branch. Another aspect in dancing or cheering is constantly counting and problem solving on the spot. You work as a team to create a picture for your audience and each cheerleader is responsible for practicing and staying on her counts. In banking you are also part of a team, all focused towards one goal and each person has their role and works towards the goal of ensuring the best customer service. 

There are stereotypes about cheerleaders in our society that make it seem unlikely that a cheerleader could be in finance. Obviously, these stereotypes are untrue, and you are a great example of that! How do you feel about breaking down negative stereotypes about cheerleaders? I am passionate about breaking down negative stereotypes of cheerleaders. It is possible for a woman to be fun, engaging, kind, and talented, in addition to being strong, smart, and driven. As a cheerleader I am constantly questioned about what people see in the media; they want to hear the drama of this glamorized lifestyle they hear about. The truth is we work incredibly hard. We have full time jobs, practice several nights a week, are active in our communities, and are truly happy to be doing so.  One of the best parts of being a cheerleader is you determine when you are “on stage.” It is empowering to put on that uniform and know that you are choosing to showcase your hard work and talent for thousands of fans. Women are stereotyped each day in any work environment regardless of what they are wearing, whether it’s a work uniform or a cheer uniform. It is up to society to respect that women are physically beautiful and contribute to the well-being of our society. It is not one or the other.  

Best cheerleading experience? This year I was able to attend a Walk for Cancer as a New England Patriots Cheerleader. It was actually my first event representing the team. Seeing thousands of people come together for one cause and being able to cheer everyone on as they began their walk was very moving. 

Best science/health-related experience? In high school with the help of my food and nutrition teacher I was able to implement a salad bar in our school lunch program. This was a huge change at the time considering the school was set on what it had done for the past 30 years. Seeing other students get their salads for lunch made me feel accomplished that I had encouraged a healthy choice in our community and the program is still continuing today. 

What advice would you give your 12-year-old self? Stop comparing yourself to others. It’s okay to like math and do well in school. Not caring about your grades won’t make you any more popular or “cool.” When you grow up, being smart is cool and caring about people and society is really cool. Continue to do what you are passionate about and the rest will fall into place. 

What’s one thing people might find especially surprising about you? Prior to my current job I had no experience in banking. My degree is in dance because at the time of high school graduation I wanted to make dance my career. I still am passionate about dance and would consider it my first love, but I also enjoy having a career in something completely different. Eventually I would love to own my own business, which everyone assumes would be a dance studio, but I don’t see myself going in that direction. I’m exploring my different passions and learning as much as I can about finance to create the perfect blend of business and passion in my future.

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