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. Read on to learn more about Doran, a Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) and member of the San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush Cheerleaders squad.

How did you get interested in science?
My grandmother is a big influence in my life. Growing up watching her love her work in the medical field made me want to have the same joy in life. Once I began taking my science courses, I fell in love and knew that this was the right path for me.

Why did you try out to be a cheerleader?
While growing up, dance has always been an anchor in my life. Every place I moved as a child and young adult, my parents would make sure that I had a place to dance. As I graduated college and moved out on my own, it was time for me to find my own space and that included finding somewhere I could dance. In my journey to finding a place to dance, I joined a community of women that had the same goals and love for dance as me. Through this program, I was introduced to the pro dance world and decided that pro cheer was the place I needed to be.

Photo Credit: San Francisco 49ers

How would you describe what you do?
As a clinical research coordinator (CRC), I am in charge of running the clinical trials for my department. Clinical trials are very important in that they allow us to come up with and test new and exciting medications, treatments, and technologies. I spend most of my time educating patients on new and innovative technology and treatments and giving them the opportunity of trying them out. The goal of most clinical research is to improve and advance our understanding of the human body and medicine and having a place to test these theories in a safe and effective environment.

What does it mean for you to be practicing in STEM?
As a CRC I feel that my biggest contribution to STEM is being able to help allow the creativity and innovation of physicians to be brought to life. All of the treatments and medications we have today that are regulated by the FDA began as the mere ideas of a doctor. Once these ideas were tested with the help of a CRC like me, they can become tools that help save people lives every day.

How do the qualities that make you a great cheerleader benefit you in your STEM career?
As a professional cheerleader, you are expected to be an ambassador for your organization and your team. As a CRC I use this skill to advocate for my research in the same ways that I have learned to advocate for my organization.

How do you feel about breaking down negative stereotypes about cheerleaders?
The negative stereotypes about cheerleaders are a very important conversation and are still very much shaping the way people view women as cheerleaders. In my journey, I’ve found that most people assume that cheerleaders are incapable of having a serious career and also being a cheerleader. The only way we will be able to break these stereotypes is to be more vocal about who we are and what we can do. Also representing ourselves as not only cheerleaders of others but also leaders of society.

Best cheerleading experience?
The best cheerleading experience I’ve had Is the moments where I get to truly get to know my teammates and make memories with them. The women that I get to dance with are incredible and all unique, and just getting to know them is such a gift.

Best science/health-related experience?
The best healthcare-related experience I’ve had is hearing from our patients the impact that our research has made in their lives. Many of our patients call often or drop by just to let us know that we are positively impacting their lives. I couldn’t ask for a better experience.

What advice would you give your 12-year-old self?
Pay attention, open your ears and eyes, and listen!! Take every opportunity you can to learn as much as you can from everyone around you. There is so much more to learn, and you can start today. Go above and beyond and push harder when things feel hard; don’t give up; your mind and body can handle more than you could imagine.

What’s one thing people might find especially surprising about you?
I also love to bake. In my off time, I love experimenting with new recipes and sharing with friends.

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