Hi there! Science Cheerleader Hilary here excited to introduce you to Raquel, who is in her third year of her nursing degree and a third year veteran on the Miami Dolphins cheerleading squad! Read on below to learn all about her.

What turned you on to science??

Someone who has had a tremendous influence in my schooling life and overall has been my mother, she has been my rock and has opened my mind in so many ways, she was also in nursing school while I was in high school which made my journey so much fun because she would always come home with stories from her clinical experiences, at times she would come home crying due to exams and out of frustration but I remember this is what she loved and that it was worth every tear. Once she became a nurse I remember I used to always ask her to tell me her stories and what she had experienced and what she loved most about it, and I was just amazed by her drive and excitement. Once I graduated high school I went on to a community college and completed my prerequisites for nursing school and volunteered at a hospital here in Miami.

Why did you try out to be a professional cheerleader?
I tried out for the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders in hopes that I could represent this city, and to be a part of this prestigious team full of young women who love to dance in front of thousands of fans, and most importantly are very involved and give back to the community.

 Please describe what you do in your science career on a daily basis.
I go to school Monday through Friday for lecture, and on Wednesdays I go to the hospital to the baby unit and complete clinical hours. While in the clinic I watch babies being born, assess them to make sure their heart and lungs sound okay, and help out the mom and dad as well as the nurses in whatever they need. I spend most of my time studying, because in nursing it is really important to know what you are doing and why you are doing it. I also work at a hospital as an operator on the weekend.

What does it mean for you to be studying nursing?
Being able to practice in the nursing field is everything to me. I am very passionate about helping people and making their day a little easier than yesterday. I see myself being a compassionate and competent nurse in my city. The most important part about nursing is that you have someone’s life in your hands, and it is so important to take care of it. I hope to grow into a leader in nursing and be able to save as many lives as I can or simply put a smile on my patient’s face.

How do the qualities that make/made you a great cheerleader benefit you in your science career?
Being a Miami Dolphins cheerleader has made me more confident in approaching people, making conversation flow naturally since we are constantly engaging with fans. This has helped me tremendously in the health care environment because it makes my patients feel more comfortable, and that is the first step to building a trusting relationship with them.

How do you feel about breaking down negative stereotypes about cheerleaders? Have you faced a situation where you had to challenge a stereotype about cheerleaders [or being a woman in a STEM field]?
I feel like everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and as a professional cheerleader you touch many people’s lives simply by bringing joy and laughter into them. Many young girls love dance and aspire to someday be professional cheerleaders. School is something very important to me and so as a cheerleader I block all the negative comments and remind myself how many beautiful memories this team has brought me and how I always have my sisters to share my nursing stories with. I lead by example and worry about the people who care about me and myself.

Best cheerleading experience?
The most rewarding experience I have had as a Miami Dolphins Cheerleader was an appearance in the Veterans Hospital here in Miami. We were able to cheer up many of these courageous men and women and sign autographs and take pictures with them during their stay, and I was also very fortunate to meet some of the Tuskegee Airmen that day since they were having an event for Memorial day.

Best health-related experience?
The best experience I have had so far has been during this semester  seeing the miracle of life, the best gift a mother can receive. I was so honored to be a part of such a joyous moment.

What advice would you give your 12-year-old self?
Give in to those curiosities as it can lead you to many rewarding careers later on. Dream big and be your own biggest motivator. Life is full of awesome experiences and it is ultimately up to you to enjoy them.

What’s one thing people might find especially surprising about you?
I always get this one statement from family and friends: “How to do you manage to have time for yourself, school, cheerleading, and work?” I am a great multitasker and I work very well under pressure, which is why I love the life I live.


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