Tell us about where you grew up.
I grew up in Braintree, Mass. and graduated from Braintree High School in 2007. I just graduated from UMass Amherst this past May with a degree in biology. I did cheerleading all through high school and auditioned for the Patriots squad my freshman year in college. I did two years then took a year off for my senior year in school to concentrate more on my studies and have more free time.
What are your career aspirations?
My goal is to become a doctor down the road. I plan on applying to medical and graduate school programs next year and matriculate starting in 2013. So this is my last year of cheering. It's bittersweet, but I'm trying to enjoy it.
What kind of medicine do you want to practice?
I've kind of narrowed it down and have a few specialties in mind. I really like kids, so maybe pediatrics. I will have a much better idea once I start rotations and get the hands-on experience. Every doctor and medical student I've talked to says that every specialty you try is exciting, so I'll have to wait and see.
Did you want to be a doctor since you were young?
Well, I actually have home videos of myself saying that I wanted to be a pediatrician, even though I didn't know what it was at the time. My mom probably told me that. I wanted to be a doctor, but I also wanted to be a hairdresser and a chef. I still love cooking. There are two Italian restaurants in my family.
Tell us about the cheerleader audition process.
It was kind of on a whim that I decided to go to the audition and it was a bit of a challenge picking up the dance because I wasn't used to the style, but I was really surprised because they kept making cuts and I kept moving forward. Then I got to final auditions which was nerve-wracking. My mother came to watch me and she was really supportive saying that I could do anything the other girls could do. She told me that if I put the work in and became a better dancer that I would make the team. Four years later, here I am.
What do you want to take away from your experience as a Patriots Cheerleader?
Accepting differences in people. Just from the girls on the squad, we are all different from different backgrounds with different personalities but we're able to make it work as a team. I'm still friends with girls that I met my rookie year. Also, at appearances you meet so many different people and you meet people who have the same views as yourself, but it's really nice to hear other peoples' perspective and travel all around New England.
Tell us about the football knowledge quiz you took during auditions.
Honestly I really crammed for it. I kept putting it off. I probably started studying a week before the test my rookie year. The hardest part is memorizing all 32 teams - the full names, conferences and divisions. The other questions about rules and positions and organization were easier. I took it for the third time this year and it was just as intimidating as the first time.
You are a certified Emergency Medical Technician. Have you ever had to put it to use?
No. Fortunately I haven't had the opportunity yet. I took the course two summers ago and initially had the hopes of gaining experience on an ambulance, but it has not worked out yet. I still hope to sharpen my skills with it down the road though.
Are you doing anything other than cheerleading right now?
I am working part-time as an assistant right now in an asset management company and that's a totally different, corporate work environment than what I'm used to. It's given me a different perspective that I could come in contact with down the road. I also model part time.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to cook. My family is Italian. We have two Italian restaurants in the area. I love everything about food, so I try to cook whenever I can. I also like to hang out with family and friends. My little brother plays Pop Warner football so I try to get to his practices and games as much as possible.
What is your favorite thing to cook?
Steak and mashed potatoes, definitely. I also make really good seven-layer bars for dessert. I have a sweet tooth, too.
What restaurants does your family own?
My uncle owns Café Bella in Randolph and my grandparents opened a restaurant named Bella's in Rockland.