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. Read on to learn more about Mackenzie, a physical therapy rehabilitation technician and member of the Baltimore Ravens cheerleading squad.
How did you get interested in science?
I always knew that I wanted to be involved in healthcare, it was just about finding which job I liked best. Growing up, I always wanted to be a nurse, but after getting to college I realized that I wanted to be more involved in the rehab side of things. After getting my first job out of school as a rehab tech, I knew physical therapy was for me.
Who had the most influence on your career choice?
My family has been a strong influence on my career choice. I’ve been taking my prerequisite courses for Physical Therapy school while also working full time and cheerleading. It has been a lot, but my family has been super supportive of my goals!
How would you describe what you do?
I work in a physical therapy office and I am responsible for taking patients through their exercise program. At the beginning or end of the session, I also provide them with either heat or ice.
How do you integrate your career with being a professional cheerleader?
I’ve been able to integrate my studies with being a professional cheerleader a lot, especially when talking with fans. A lot of people will ask if we have other jobs, so it’s nice to be able to talk about what I do while not in uniform :).
What’s your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part about my job is interacting with the patients daily, and also watching them get physically better and stronger.
What’s been the best experience as an NFL cheerleader?
The best experience I’ve had as an NFL cheerleader has been going out into the community and talking to fans and giving back. We as cheerleaders are a strong representation of the Ravens organization, so it’s awesome to be able to make an impact on all the fans.
What’s one thing people would find surprising about you?
Something people would find surprising about me is that I love to knit in my free time. I enjoy making scarves specifically and will make them for my friends and family.