The Science Cheerleaders are a group of professional cheerleaders who also work in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). They aim to promote these fields, increase public interest and encourage more girls to study the sciences.
The group was started by Darlene Cavalier, a former Philadelphia 76ers cheerleader, who created the site Science Cheerleader. As the website got more attention, she was contacted by other pro cheerleaders working in the sciences. The site covers a wide range of science and cheer-related topics, from stories about different women’s career paths to discussions about how appearance affects women in the workplace.
“People tend to have this huge misconception that cheerleaders, especially blonde ones like myself, are airheads,” writes Sami, a former All-Star collegiate cheerleader and current clinical research coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “People are always more surprised by my intellect than by my cheerleading background. (Apparently, I look like a cheerleader, and not like a scientist—which is strange, because I’m not entirely what either is supposed to look like.)”
Not only do the women featured on the site challenge stereotypes surrounding both scientists and cheerleaders, they also present an encouraging image of beauty. While cheerleading may seem like a sport for the young, many of the women interviewed on the site are well beyond their college years. What makes these women attractive is their athleticism, their intelligence and their articulateness.
Image via the Science Cheerleaders’ Facebook page.