Jo here, Environmental Scientist and current Ravens Cheerleader. Last week I had the opportunity to test out the Big Cheer for Science with students at Hammond High School in Columbia, Maryland.Hi, Science Cheerleader fans,
First, I met up with the Diamond girls and had some great conversations with them. The Diamonds are a group of African American females, attending Hammond High School, who have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 and above. Science Cheerleaders and The Diamonds are meeting up monthly to perform and discuss science projects from our partner site, SciStarter ! This was my first time back since our kickoff event back in March, when we started our mentorship between the Diamonds and Science Cheerleaders!
The discussion I had with the Diamonds about what science (and non-science) fields they are planning to pursue in college was great! Almost every girl is planning to pursue a science degree, from medical to politics, they were all interested in an array of fields. The girls asked questions regarding what type of high school and college courses they would need to take for their specific concentrations and I described my daily life, and what it is that I do as an Environmental Scientist and Ravens Cheerleader! One of the girls told me that she used to stereotype cheerleaders, but now her view has changed, and she realizes that anyone can be anything, regardless of how they look on the outside!! One of our goals as Science Cheerleaders is to squash stereotypes and hearing that a goal was accomplished first-hand was so rewarding!
Once our conversation was over, we went to the gymnasium to lead other Hammond students in the Big Cheer for Science! The Big Cheer for Science was part of a large event that took place in Washington, DC at the USA Science and Engineering Festival, with our partners the USGS, IRIS, SciStarter and Discover Magazine. The goal: jump and cheer as loud as you can and to see how much the ground shakes. A sensor was installed by the USGS and Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology in the Hammond High School gymnasium to measure and record the shaking. In addition to the Diamond Girls, Hammond High’s sports teams and many other students participated. We performed the cheer 3 times to get the shaking number as high as we could!!!
At the Science and Engineering Festival, I joined more than 20 other Science Cheerleaders to lead a large group of local students in the cheer, as well as many other schools who were given sensors across the country. All of those participating classrooms with those sensors are now able to help monitor and report to the USGS earth’s seismic activities for years to come! That’s right – this Big Cheer is actually part of a long term scientific research program!
This event at Hammond was so gratifying and so much fun! I can’t wait to go back again, to help perform another SciStarter project and get to know the Diamonds better!
(Editor’s note: Science Cheerleader Erica will mentor the Diamonds later this month! Stay tuned for Erica’s first-person account of the experience.)