Okta presents: The NBA Cheerleader

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Brittany never appreciated being dragged to her sister’s high school basketball games. She was in middle school at the time, a self-described ‘math-nerd’ with no interest in basketball she’d sit on the bleachers, with her head in her books. One day her mother told her to stop studying and watch the game. Brittany did as she was told, and when the cheerleaders took to the court at halftime she was mesmerized. She wanted to dance too. There was one problem: 

Brittany’s only dance training came from watching Michael Jackson videos.

But it turned out she was a natural. In high school and college her love for math and computers also continued to grow but she never gave up dance and cheerleading. By the time she graduated from college, with a degree in Information Technology,  it was clear that Brittany could have a career in technology or as a dancer.

She identified very strongly with both her tech and dancer identities, and she knew she could never let herself choose just one. Both interests were critical to Brittany’s identity, and to abandon one would mean losing part of herself.

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By day, Brittany is a software engineer who spends her days at the offices of a huge multinational consultancy, writing test scripts and system updates. For hours, she sits with her earbuds in, focused on her screens. At night and on the weekends, Brittany dances and shakes her poms as an NBA cheerleader in front of thousands-strong live audiences and with millions watching on television.

She has already been named her team MVP, danced at the All-Star game and represented her team at the Olympics in Rio.

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As Brittany describes it, she goes from ‘not talking to anyone to shaking poms, signing autographs, and talking with little kids’. She sees this day-to-night switch between her two identities as a ‘transformation.’

She views her dual lives as symbolic of the modern woman, one who can juggle just about anything, including two diverse passions.

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She’s a fierce advocate for young girls to pursue STEM, talking with children at Science Museum events where she encourages them to embrace their love of all things STEM while also pursuing the other passions that bring them joy. And she sometimes informally mentors girls in the pageant world and young athletes, showing them they can compete in pageants and sports as well as pursue careers in math, engineering, or science. For Brittany, her passions are tech and dancing but she hopes to inspire young girls to do everything they want to in life, whether they are the math and tech obsessed book lover on the bleachers or the cheerleader on the court.


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