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 Sierrah, a physician’s assistant and member of the San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush Cheerleaders squad.

How did you get interested in science?
My mother is a trauma nurse and my father is a mechanical engineer, so my parents have fostered my love for science from the beginning. Throughout high school I always loved learning about anything pertaining to biology, anatomy, and physiology. However, I wasn’t sure what career I wanted within a STEM field. Within my first couple years of college, I had the opportunity to shadow a trauma team at a local hospital. After spending a week with them, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine.

Who had the most influence on your career choice?
My mother, my friends who are also in medicine, and multiple mentors that I have at my local hospital. Exploring my options through shadowing and talking to others about their own experiences really helped me to decide.

Photo Credit: San Francisco 49ers

How would you describe what you do?
I am currently an EMT. I spend my day on an ambulance responding to 911 calls! It is a very exciting and fast-paced job. I get to talk to all different types of people and deal with a handful of different illnesses and injuries throughout my shift. My ultimate career goal (after I work as an EMT for another year) is to go to graduate school and become a Physician’s Assistant. They are an advanced practitioner that sees their own patients every day. They can do everything a doctor does, but they have to have any medicines they prescribe or procedures they do approved by a doctor first. I like to describe it as a step above a nurse but a step below a doctor.

How do you integrate your studies/career with being a professional cheerleader?
As opposite as they may seem, there is a lot of crossover between cheerleading and the medical field. Teamwork, creativity, communication, and physical/mental well-being are very important in both areas. Tips I learn about communication on the job as an EMT often carry over to cheer and help me when communicating with my teammates on the field. Cheerleading also acts as a stress relief for me after a busy work week.

What’s your favorite part about your studies/job?
Being able to make a meaningful positive impact on people’s lives is definitely the best part of being an EMT. The comradery with my coworkers is another perk. Having people who understand exactly what I am going through on the ambulance is helpful when encountering sad cases.

What’s been the best experience as an NFL cheerleader?
Dance is my passion, and I am so blessed to share my passion with thousands of people every game day. Dancing on that magical field with my 39 other sisters is an unparalleled experience. Being a part of such a rich history of powerful women is really amazing, too. The bond between my teammates and I is unique, and I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without their support.

What’s one thing people would find surprising about you?
Funny enough, people are often surprised that I am an EMT and a cheerleader at the same time! People who know I’m an EMT are shocked when they learn I am part of Gold Rush. People who know I’m on Gold Rush are shocked when they learn I’m an EMT. I love being able to break down the stereotypes that exist about females in STEM and cheerleaders through the life I lead.

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