'Rah' squared: Cheerleaders urge girls toward science

A group of cheerleaders with science degrees performs in order to inspire more girls to take science seriously.

Fighting the stereotypes isn't easy. Science Cheerleaders/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

One of the more unspoken thoughts about why girls don't want to become scientists is that science is less interesting than scientists would have you believe.

But here are some girl scientists who clearly believe the opposite and may leave you unable to speak.

For these are the Science Cheerleaders. They are crusaders for the cause of getting more little girls to love science.

Yes, they wear short skirts and carry pom-poms. But these are engineers and dentists who want to find any way possible to get you to pay attention.

I am grateful to Jezebel for locating evidence of these women, who dance like everyone's watching.

You might wonder how it is that they seem so at ease with the cheerleading malarkey. Well, they are all former NFL and NBA cheerleaders who had to lower their standards and became scientists of one sort or another.

There's Allison, who had to slum it with biology and chemistry degrees after cheerleading for the intellectual fans of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Allison wants to let girls know that "you've don't have to deal with the stereotypes."

There's also Wendy, who used to dance for the Sacramento Kings (there's a job beyond science) and is now a PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering.

She wants to help kids pursue science and pursue dancing, cheerleading, or pageants. Yes, girls, you truly can have it all.

There's also Heather. She is a dentist with a Yale degree, as well as being a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader. She's all about changing people's smile.

Oh, there's a Washington Wizards-cheering software engineer in there too, in case you wondered.

No one should doubt these women's sincerity. And no one should doubt that anything a little different might make a difference.

There are 175 ex-cheerleaders in their group. They are determined to influence, persuade, and inspire, as the video I've embedded from this year's U.S. Science and Engineering Festival shows.

They don't just cheer and shake it all about. They cheer, shake it all about, and then measure how much they shook it all about with an earthquake sensor.

As the Science Cheerleader Web site puts it:

These women aim to playfully challenge stereotypes, inspire young women to consider science and technology careers, and get people from all walks of life involved in formal and informal research projects demonstrating that science *is* for all!

Yes, one day, Jasmine, you can be head of Google. Or even Kleiner Perkins.

 

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