A select group of women with training in STEM and successful careers demonstrate that there is more to cheerleading than glitz and glamour.
Simply listening to Julia, a cheerleader for the NBA’s Washington Wizards, describe her weekly routine is exhausting. She rattles off a typical schedule for the team’s cheer squad: “Game on Monday, practice Tuesday, game on Wednesday, practice Thursday, maybe a night off, game Saturday, practice on Sunday and another game on Monday.”
And, for Julia, this demanding schedule is merely half of her story. Like nearly all professional cheerleaders, she also has a full-time job on top of her duties on the sidelines. “I don’t think people realize the double lives we lead,” says Julia, who is a producer and reporter for PBS NewsHour and holds a master’s degree in environmental science.