National Girl Day is February 22, 2018
This is a perfect time to inspire a girl’s future by sharing your knowledge and experience that girls, science, and engineering can make a difference in this world!
Tata & Howard Project Engineer Patricia Kelliher (Trish) and former New England Patriots Cheerleader talks about her experience:
“After retiring from the Patriots in 2013, I was able to speak at the Pop Warner Little Scholars banquet in Boston. About 1,500 Pop Warner football players and cheerleaders with their parents attend the banquet every year.
The Science Cheerleaders have a partnership with Pop Warner where they help their cheerleaders feel empowered to ditch stereotypes (about female scientists/engineers and about cheerleaders) and maybe even consider science or engineering as a career option. I was able to give a 20-minute speech on my story, how I became interested in both cheerleading and engineering, and hopefully try and encourage the cheerleaders in attendance to break stereotypes.”
Here’s part of Trish’s inspirational speech:
Growing up you will find your mentors, also known as your parents, teachers and coaches giving you advise and teaching you important life lessons. And Yes! you should listen to them because they are actually pretty smart and are usually right. I am about 13 years older than all of you and still listening to the mentors in my life. I am only 25 years old, and the list of lessons or advice that I have learned and could share with you all would be pages long. Don’t worry I won’t share them all with you today. I am here to tell you about my life and what lessons have helped shaped me to be the person I am today. I truly believe that I have been able to accomplish my goals through hard work, confidence, prioritizing time and building positive relationships.
School was never easy for me. In elementary school and middle school, I was placed in lower level math classes and part of a special education program due to a learning disability. I liked learning and was always hard on myself because I wanted to be in the harder classes that my friends were in. Being held back really affected my confidence and I thought of myself as “dumb”. I would come home from school crying because I didn’t have confidence in myself. The most important mentors, my parents, would sit with me every night and push me. They would not only help me with my school work, but would also help me with my confidence.
By the time I got to high school, I had built enough confidence in my intelligence and decided to push myself, double and triple up on math and science classes and work hard to do well. Like you…. outside of school, I was very busy. I started the dance team at my high school, we would have practice twice a week and I would dance at my local dance studio every night until about 9:00 pm. I would struggle to get all my homework done, do it correctly, do well in dance, hang out with my family and friends, and get enough rest. This is when I learned the art of prioritizing. First and foremost, my main priority was my family, second was school and third was dance. I would prioritize my time based on this. Since the age of 12 my priorities have not changed.
In 2006, I was accepted into the school of engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In college, education and dance remained part of my life as cheerleading or football may for you when you go to college. On top of my classes, I was a member of the UMass dance team. Just like in high school, I would prioritize the two. In college I learned another life lesson…. building positive relationships. You will find in life that you may sometimes need help. With my parents not around, I learned to talk with administrators, professors, my classmates and my teammates to solve any issues I might run into and I would help them with anything they might need. By developing these relationships stemmed opportunity. A friend of a friend asked me one day if I would be interested in using my engineering to help people. Of course, I said yes, and they advised me to check out a student group called EWB.
I was able to tell fans in the community that I am engineer. Typically, there are stereotypes of cheerleaders and there are stereotypes of a typical engineer. Fans are shocked to hear that a cheerleader may be an engineer or a doctor, physicist, dentist, etc., but it is true! You will find as you get older that stereotypes are not always true. You are also proof of that. People may not think that cheerleaders nor football players are smart. But you are already proving them wrong. You are all very smart. And as you get older, based on what you learn in school, what you learn from your parents and coaches, you can accomplish whatever you want.
To all of you, no matter what your goals are, what life lessons you may learn on the way, always be the best you can be and stick to it!
Trish was also featured on the Science Cheerleaders website. To read more about her amazing story [click here].
Do you have an inspiring story to share? We’d love to hear it!