Miami Dolphins Cheerleader Embraces Her Inner Geek models and members will find inspiration from Mari, a Miami Dolphins cheerleader with a Master of Science in Educational Leadership. Mari was recently featured on the website ScienceCheerleader and interviewed about her compelling combination of beauty and brains.

Growing up she particularly remembers enjoying the annual science projects in elementary and middle school.

“I would always choose to study human behavior mixed with some science element (‘Does diabetes affect temperament?’).”

Here is an excerpt from her interview with ScienceCheerleader:

SciCheer: Favorite courses you took to prepare for your degrees, Mari?

Mari: Two courses in graduate school truly stand out: Cross-Cultural Counseling and Educational Psychology: Brain-Based Learning. Both focused on the science of the human brain, how it reacts to certain stimuli, environments, and how learning, behavior, or habits are created. They were intriguing and interactive classes so that kept them fun!

SciCheer: How long have you been cheering for the Dolphins?

Mari: I recently completed my second year as a Miami Dolphins Cheerleader — one of the best experiences I’ve ever had!

SciCheer: Which came first: your interest in science or cheerleading?

Mari: I would definitely say my interest in science came first because of how academically oriented I was as a child but I had always had an interest in performing so I picked up on cheerleading and dance more passionately in middle school.

SciCheer: Can you describe a typical day for you?

Mari: A typical day for me begins early in the morning (7 am) where I head to work at the university and take part in planning and assessing student programs; meeting with students; and/or preparing for the day’s class. After work I head to the stadium and prepare to practice for practice — practice makes perfect! — and then attend our 3-hour practice. I’m usually home by 11pm — unpack, pack for the next day. It’s a demanding schedule, but every ounce of time and effort is worth the experience of belonging to such an amazing organization of women.

SciCheer: Did you find that stereotypes about cheerleaders help or hinder your studies or professional experiences? Are you taken seriously?

Professionally, I had been working in my field for three years before I became a Miami Dolphins Cheerleader, so I had not been hindered based on existing stereotypes. I had already had the opportunity to establish myself as a knowledgeable, passionate, and responsible professional. Once I made the team, I was definitely asked a lot of questions by students and colleagues. Still, my colleagues are very supportive of my role with the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders although it is not something that a traditional educator would do. Some students who are aware that I cheer have tested waters by not taking my classes or student programs seriously, but you’d be surprised how their own peers hold them accountable for their behavior — it’s more eye-opening for them than they bargained for.

SciCheer: How do your fellow cheerleaders accept your interest in science?

Mari: My teammates are some of the most supportive and welcoming women I know. Because my profession delves into the science of education, and many of them are college students themselves, they find a great interest in it. It’s unique to see how both my profession and cheerleading intertwine; I’m able to provide my teammates with resources for their success or be someone they can talk to who understands them in ways sometimes friends can’t; I understand their behaviors and/or situations differently — it’s the science of people and learning, I love it!

SciCheer: Do you have any advice for youngsters who might feel torn between following one dream (cheerleading, etc) and another (a STEM career)?

Mari: My advice is NOT to choose. Instead, challenge yourself to do it all. How well you are disciplined will make the difference. There’s a lot to be said about someone who is willing to move outside the box and explore a dream like cheerleading or becoming a professional in a STEM career. I embrace my “geek” within but also follow my other passion — I’d love for young people to do the same!

Read the full article at

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