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 Jennifer, a software engineer and member of the San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush Cheerleaders squad.
How did you get interested in engineering?
I have always liked math and learning about how things work. Dance inspired my fascination with how the human body works, and I was initially interested in pursuing biological research or medical school. However, that curiosity eventually transferred to computers leading to my current career in software engineering.
Who had the most influence on your career choice?
My mentor, Henning, let me help on a project that involved writing a small computer program for data analysis. This was the first time I was introduced to coding, and I immediately fell in love with it.
How would you describe what you do?
I build websites and apps!
How do you integrate your career with being a professional cheerleader?
Engineering and cheerleading provide a nice balance in my life. After working with machines and using the analytical side of my brain all day, it’s great to have cheer/dance as an outlet for emotional expression that is so organic and human.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
I love the constant problem solving that comes with software engineering. It’s really fun trying to figure out creative designs or better solutions for a unique problem. Technology changes so quickly, and you never stop learning.
What’s been the best experience as an NFL cheerleader?
The best experience has been meeting the most supportive and inspiring group of women imaginable. I truly believe they are capable of changing the world for the better.
What’s one thing people would find surprising about you?
I am a cancer survivor.