Genevieve is a rookie for the 2014 Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders. She started her engineering career as a systems engineer at Cisco Systems, Inc.
What turned you on to science?
My mother and father are both engineers and from as young as I can remember they have influenced me toward engineering. To me, I see it as a way of life: they are very thoughtful as they go through life so researching, investigating and discovering how things work and have taught me to live my life in a similar manner.
What is your degree in and from where?
My degree is a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology, with an emphasis in Graphic Information Technology from Arizona State University. This is a degree program that is very versatile and I learned a variety of topics ranging from computer programming to 3D modeling, animation and graphic design, digital photography, technical writing, project management and more. Our program of study was often described as a blend of industrial engineering, graphic design and business.
Favorite and courses you took to prepare for your degree? Why?
My favorite courses were in Computer Drawing, Illustration, 3D Modeling and Animation. I think this is because those classes gave me the opportunity to be creative while also using critical thinking skills. It might sound strange but whenever I take personality tests, I am typically split right down the middle where I am equally a right-brained thinker and left-brained thinker!
You’re working in an information technology (IT) sales group as a systems engineer. What got you interested in that?
I spent nearly 8 years at Cisco as a Systems Engineer supporting various sales groups and in the past 3 years I have moved into a role of direct sales responsibility, yet still involves a certain degree of technical ability and certifications.
I became interested in this role when I heard I could have the opportunity to be both technical and social at the same time. I love to learn new things and since technology is constantly changing, I knew it would be tough to get bored in this role. If all I did everyday was sit behind a computer, I think I would go crazy because I love to spend time meeting people and interacting with others. This role is the best of both worlds because I have the opportunity to be trained on the latest technology in the industry while also going out on a daily basis to meet clients and help them with their projects.
Why did you try out to be a professional cheerleader?
Being a professional cheerleader has been a goal of mine since I was a very young girl. I was born and raised in Arizona and attended the Arizona Cardinals games with my older brother. He told me that if I worked hard I could do it someday. There was a period in my life where I felt it was time to “retire” from dance and cheer to focus solely on my family and career. In the past few years, I realized this was a dream that I was not yet ready to let go of and fortunately was able to get back into it to condition my body and make the team. I have learned that dance is a huge passion in my heart and I need to have it a part of my life in some shape or form to feel content. I believe what they say: if you have found your life’s passion, then you never really retire.
What does it mean for you to be an engineer?
I was an engineer but now I am in a technical sales role. As an engineer the goal is to know as much as possible about the technology we are providing to teach customers about it so they will buy it and use it successfully. As a sales executive the goal is similar, yet my responsibly has shifted more to understanding my customers’ unique business situation and making sure we have the right engineering resource for them from our team. Now I spend more time lining up meetings and coordinating the resources then I do presenting the technical details of each solution. I think the world needs people who can take very complicated processes and explain it in a simple manner, so the larger majority of people can work together in harmony. This is what a good engineer and sales person can do together.
How do the qualities that make you a great cheerleader benefit you in your engineering career?
I think with any job remembering to focus on the present situation and making the most out of that moment in time is the key to successful outcomes. When I was a younger cheerleader I remember a coach saying that as a cheerleader we needed to be responsible to “lead” people to be cheerful. I think about that all the time and try to find ways to bring out the best in others.
Have you faced a situation where you had to challenge a stereotype about cheerleaders or engineers?
People are surprised that I have a career in technology and that I am a professional cheerleader, mostly because of the time commitments and balance it takes to do both. I think because I was a young mother, I learned early how to use my time wisely and set boundaries on my time throughout the day.
Also scientists follow the Scientific Method, which is one step at a time. Much of life can be complicated until we break it down one step at a time. The way a person becomes a good cheerleader is the same way you become a successful scientist, technologist or engineer, which is done by learning one step at a time. Science and technology can be frustrating to figure out and complicated sometimes, so if you are able to remain cheerful it makes the process a lot more productive and fun.
Best cheerleading experience?
Walking through the tunnel on to the field for the first time was amazing. Our season opener was a Monday Night Football game; it was surreal to hear how loud the crowd was and see how many people were there with us to cheer on the Cardinals.
Best engineering-related experience?
I was added to the Cisco Systems Engineer Wall of Fame in 2008. That was a huge honor and one of my best experiences at work.
What advice would you give your 12-year-old self?
What’s one thing people might find especially surprising about you?
I have a teenage son!
What are your plans for the future?
In the near future I plan to continue my career in IT and then later down the road I hope to open my own business in health and fitness. I have not figured out the exact details but I know I want to incorporate technology into whatever I do and combine my passions into one business venture. I am optimistic that the future is going to be bright. 🙂
Why do you want to be a Science Cheerleader?
I hope to encourage other young girls who might be interested in both science and cheerleading to pursue both! Life is full of possibilities and it is important to remember to stay true to what you believe in and never give up! 🙂