Meet Melissa: Titans Cheerleader & Vanderbilt Medical Researcher

Another great interview from our friends at ScienceCheerleader.com:

Meet Melissa, a Tennessee Titans Cheerleader and a medical researcher at Vanderbilt University, specializing in molecular neuroimaging. Last we heard from Melissa, she and her co-cheerleading/scientist pals sent us this greeting:

Melissa’s back as a participant in our ongoing effort to playfully challenge stereotypes and inspire young women to consider careers in science and technology. Our favorite quote from Melissa: “I wish I had a knack for Newton’s laws, but I’m much better with action potentials!” Goooo Melissa!

What type of scientist are you, Melissa?

melissatitansI am currently working as a clinical research coordinator specializing in neuroimaging. I was a neuroscience major at Vanderbilt University and since graduating, have devoted myself to full time medical research at Vanderbilt. I worked in a molecular neuro/psychiatric lab for two years, studying genetic expression of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s disease, and since then, I joined the aforementioned neuroimaging group, specializing in PET, fMRI, and fat-water imaging. I am trained in various molecular techniques, including but not limited to qPCR, primary tissue culture, DNA and RNA extraction. With regard to neuroimaging, I am trained to use many imaging analysis tools such as statistical parametric mapping and voxel based morphometry. My title is Research Assistant II: Neuro Radiology.

Read the rest over at ScienceCheerleader.com

[Melissa’s on the Titan’s Website]

Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders Calendar Release Party

From Nashville Metromix:

titansswim2Amidst a sea of flashbulbs and smoke, our very own Titans Cheerleaders strutted their stuff down the catwalk at Cabana on Tuesday night in barely-there bikinis. They were showing off their sizzling physiques for the packed house of friends, family and fans, that cheered nearly as loudly as the girls do on the field, in honor of the release of their 2010 Swimsuit Calendar. The girls looked absolutely gorgeous and it was the perfect event to kick off the season. They even stayed after the show to sign copies of their new calendar for everyone in the audience.

See all the photos here.


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Order the Titans Swimsuit Calendar here.

Spotlight: Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders

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Titans cheerleaders are more than pretty faces

By Melonee Hurt
Nashville Metromix
August 17, 2010
[Photo Credit:Samuel M. Simpkins]

It’s one thing to cheer for your Tennessee Titans from the comfort of your Barcalounger with one hand in a bowl of chips and the other hand wrapped around a cold beer.

It’s another thing to devote an entire year to hours of practice most days, learning dozens of routines, making public appearances and, for every home game, arriving four hours beforehand while being the last ones to leave the stadium. All while looking polished and faultless, working full-time, being a parent and keeping up with a strict regimen to maintain that picture-perfect figure, hair, nails and award-winning smile.

The Tennessee Titans cheerleaders are definitely pretty faces, but one look inside the organization reveals there’s so much more to these 26 girls than meets the eye.

“We have cheerleaders right now who practice law and medicine, we have a neuroscience major, and there are girls in public relations, marketing and education,” said Stacie Kinder, director of cheerleading for the Titans. “They are beautiful, but they aren’t bimbos. Do we have bimbos try out? Yes. Do they make the team? No.”

Upwards of 300 girls audition each year. Any woman at least 18 years old with a high school diploma can try out. And getting in the door is easy.

Getting to the next step? Not so much.

On the first day of auditions, the group is narrowed to 48. Then Kinder spends nearly a month with them getting to know them. She knows they can dance; that’s why they made the final 48. Now she needs to figure out whether they can fit the mold of a Titans cheerleader.

That mold has been carefully sculpted by Kinder since she took her position seven seasons ago. She knows exactly what she wants in a cheerleader. Yes, it’s the five-star figure, the sparkling smile and the endless energy, but it’s also drive.

“It’s looks and human characteristics, and I won’t take one without the other,” Kinder said. “I’d call the look a diva on the outside and girl-next-door on the inside. Their physical appearance would turn your head, but we have a very distinct culture on the team of women who are driven, career-oriented and have high moral standings and personal accountability.”

Once they make the team, the real work begins. During their first summer on the team, it’s training camp five days a week, dance four days a week and “Fitness Fridays,” where they are coached by an Olympic decathlete. Once the season starts, they practice two to three days a week.

Kinder said the biggest misconception about the squad is how hard they work.

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“It’s an enormous time commitment,” Kinder said. “They don’t roll out of bed looking like that every morning. They are in the gym five to six days a week. They have their hair done every three weeks. They choose to significantly watch what they eat. Most people don’t realize that to put together an 80-second routine on the field might take eight hours of practice.”

One cheerleader on this year’s team also cheered for the 2004-05 season. Since then, she graduated from Belmont University, married, had a baby and made the team again only
9 months after having her baby.

The cheerleaders have to maintain a goal weight that is set for each member of the squad by Kinder. They cannot fraternize with the football team, and there’s no time for late nights out. And dessert? Forget it.

“You are expected to maintain your weight,” she said. “If you break the player rule, you are fired on the spot. If the weight isn’t maintained, you are suspended.”

So if the team has to be full of ladies who are disciplined, professional, successful and talented, why so much emphasis on their looks? A million reasons.

Kinder said more than a million people a month visit the Titans cheerleader page.

“All they know is how you look. It’s the nature of the business,” she said. “It’s the same as with football. Mostly all you see is how they play. You don’t really get to know who the players are as people. Our world is very similar.”
[Titans Cheerleaders Gallery at Metromix.com]


Helpful hint for viewing the full-size (1024×681) version of each photo (This is for PC users. Mac folks, you’re on your own): Right-click on the image and choose “View Image.” Then remove “/560/370” from the URL. For example, change this:
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Got it?

Titans Cheerleader Focuses on Nursing Preparation at Belmont

2009-titans_kristin-singh_2Belmont University
August 13, 2010

Kristin Singh is one of Belmont’s many nursing students, but she boasts an extra special extracurricular–for the past two years she has shared the sidelines with the Tennessee Titans as a Titans cheerleader.

She began her academic career as a marine biology major at the College of Charleston but through a series of major changes found herself in the neuroscience department. She moved to Belmont “because it was one of the only schools in the Nashville area that had a neuroscience major” and soon “started thinking about nursing after hearing how great Belmont’s program was.” Once in the nursing program she quickly formed a bond with Mrs. Keary Dryden, her clinical instructor her first semester. Kristin recalls, “I was so nervous for my first clinical, and she made it easy for me to relax and learn as much as I could. She still challenged me, but she did it in a way that made me comfortable.”

Despite finding nursing a highly rewarding career, she sought to fulfill another desire: her passion for dance. She began her dance career at only four years old and eventually danced her way onto her high school dance team. After graduation she started to miss dancing so when she moved to Nashville her sophomore year she decided to try out for the Titans.

When asked about the connection between her work as a Titans cheerleader and her nursing preparation, Kristen had an interesting story to tell. “We do many charity events that involve the healthcare community. I had the opportunity to go to an appearance at the V.A. hospital about a month ago. I did my clinical there last year and was able to visit patients on the floor that I worked [on]. It was very neat to go back and see everyone that I worked with during my clinical rotation. However, it was different being there in my cheerleading uniform. I never told anyone that I was a cheerleader, so the other nurses that recognized me were a little surprised that I had this other life. It made me so happy that I was able to relate my nursing experiences to cheerleading. It also pleased me to help the patients in a different way by visiting them as a Titans cheerleader rather than a student nurse.”

Kristin loved being a cheerleader and positive role model for the community, but her upper-level nursing classes were making it “more difficult to juggle both school and cheerleading.” She says that her “education is by far more important than cheerleading” which is why you won’t see her again this year on the Titans sidelines. Soon she will graduate with her nursing degree and is excited to start her new career.

Titans Cheerleader Calendar Release Party Set For Aug. 31

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Tuesday, Aug. 31
Cabana
1910 Belcourt Ave.
Doors: 5:30; Show: 7:30
$25 – ticket includes calendar, show and autographs
Purchase tickets at the door or in advance by calling 615-565-4172

Titans Cheerleaders Complete Their Own Version of Training Camp

By Brittany Lynn Evans
Titans Online

cheercamp071810The Tennessee Titans cheerleaders recently finished their 2010 training camp in June, physically preparing themselves for the upcoming season.

In addition to team rehearsal Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the seven rookie cheerleaders practiced every Saturday in June, working on sideline dance routines and building relationships for a successful season.

The rookies were taught by the four veteran captains, including Brooke, Julia, Natalie, and Shauna. The leadership of the captains helped the rookies understand the importance of representing the Tennessee Titans organization.

Throughout training camp, the entire squad practiced dance routines that will be performed at the home games this year, beginning with the preseason home opener against Arizona Aug. 23 on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

The cheerleaders not only learned dances, but also prepared for their two tests which included a written exam and fitness test.

On June 25th, the Titans cheerleaders participated in Fitness Friday, which consisted of a timed mile, shuttle run, endurance drills, v-ups, and step up tests. The cheerleaders who successfully completed this portion of training camp received a special commemorative tank top.

“It definitely is a challenge both physically and mentally,” veteran cheerleader Shauna said. “The exercises are difficult and you definitely want to stop, but we all succeeded with each others’ help and motivation.”

The cheerleaders will enjoy a two-week break prior to resuming practices in mid-July.

[Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders]

Titans Cheerleaders Complete Their Own Version of Training Camp

2010-titans-training-campBy Brittany Lynn Evans
Titans Online
Jul 8, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans cheerleaders recently finished their 2010 training camp in June, physically preparing themselves for the upcoming season.

The seven rookie cheerleaders practiced every Saturday in June, working on sideline dance routines and building relationships for a successful season.

The rookies were taught by the four veteran captains, including Brooke, Julia, Natalie, and Shauna. The leadership of the captains helped the rookies understand the importance of representing the Tennessee Titans organization.

Throughout training camp, the entire squad practiced dance routines that will be performed at the home games this year, beginning with the preseason home opener against Arizona Aug. 23 on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

The cheerleaders not only learned dances, but also prepared for their two tests which included a written exam and fitness test.

On June 25th, the Titans cheerleaders participated in Fitness Friday, which consisted of a timed mile, shuttle run, endurance drills, v-ups, and step up tests. The cheerleaders who successfully completed this portion of training camp received a special commemorative tank top.

“It definitely is a challenge both physically and mentally,” veteran cheerleader Shauna said. “The exercises are difficult and you definitely want to stop, but we all succeeded with each others’ help and motivation.”

The cheerleaders will enjoy a two-week break prior to resuming practices in mid-July.

Cheerleader Heaven: The 2010 P-R-O Convention (Part I)

There’s a reason why its called Hotlanta and its not because of the weather.  Last weekend, more than 200 professional cheerleaders and dancers from across the country gathered in Atlanta for All Pro3’s 7th annual P-R-O convention, or as I call it Cheerleader Heaven.  Hot weather, hot cheerleaders and hot dance routines.

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The P-R-O Convention is the premier professional dance convention and the instructors represent the very best in professional cheerleading and dance.  This year’s instructors included:

Sandy Charbonneau – Armed Forces Entertainment
Raquel Torres-Garcia – San Antonio Spurs (NBA) and Silver Stars (WNBA)
Denise Garvey – NY Jets (NFL)
Alto Gary – Houston Texans (NFL)
Tamara Jenkins – FC Dallas (MLS)
Stephanie Jojokian Washinton Redskins
Heather Karberg – Arizona Cardinals (NFL)
Stacie Kinder – Tennessee Titans (NFL)
Shannon Kingsley – Seattle Seahawks (NFL)
Tami Krause – Minnesota Vikings (NFL) and Minnesota Swarm (NLL)
Brandii McCoy – Charlotte Bobcats (NBA) and Charlotte Checkmates (AHL)
Tracey Rutledge – All-Pro3 and former Atlanta Hawks
Michelle Stover – Washington Wizards (NBA)
Derric Whitfield – Houston Energy (WPFL)

The organizers of P-R-O gave James and I complete access to the convention’s events and in this article, I will provide our readers with a first hand look into the premier professional dance convention.  We have a lot to cover so, let’s begin with Saturday’s report.

Continue reading Cheerleader Heaven: The 2010 P-R-O Convention (Part I)

2010 Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders

Cameo shots of the Titans cheerleaders are now online!

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Titans Cheerleaders Wrap Up Photo Shoot

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Brittany Lynn Evans
Titans Online
Jun 3, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans cheerleaders departed Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort this morning. After a productive week that included photo sessions with each of the 26 ladies, the squad began its nine-hour journey back to Nashville. The team bonding that took place throughout the week will only help the ladies get off to a strong start to the season!

The bus ride coming home was a little bit quieter. The extensive work load for the cheerleaders was tiring, and most of the ladies needed time for rest and relaxation. The Titans cheerleaders shot all their photos in two days, forcing efficiency and cooperation from everyone involved.

The Titans cheerleaders arrived back to Nashville around 6 p.m. Now back in town, they have little time to rest. The rookies and captains will go over dance routines on Saturday. On Sunday, their 2010 head shots will be taken with their uniforms.

With much production work to be done by photographer Eric Anderson, the 2010 swimsuit calendar will be available at the end of August and will debut with a calendar release party later that month. The Titans cheerleaders and fans are eager to see the calendar this fall. Stay tuned to Titans Online for additional information as it becomes available.

Titans Cheerleaders Begin Calendar Shoot

Photo Shoot Begins for 2010 Cheerleader Calendar
By Brittany Evans
Titans Online

DESTIN, Fla. — Feeling anxious and enthusiastic, several Tennessee Titans cheerleaders began preparing for their initial photo shoot Tuesday morning at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

Those scheduled for the morning shoot had to report for hair and makeup at 4 a.m. Sleep was not an option. Many of the ladies had coffee in hand eager to begin their first obligation as a Titans cheerleader.

After a couple of hours of prep work, the four ladies were chauffeured to the resort’s sandy, white beaches where their individual photos were taken. The first photo shoot started at 6 a.m. and took three hours to complete.

In between photo shoots, the cheerleaders and staff on site ate at The Broken Egg in the Baytown Wharf. Known for its excellent brunch menu, this restaurant is very popular around the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Everyone eating there fell in love with their made to order omelets. Most of the cheerleaders and staff planned on eating there again before leaving later in the week!

Around 1 p.m. the second group of Titans cheerleaders was set to shoot at the resort’s beautiful marina. The ladies posed and were photographed on a luxurious yacht located on site. The Titans cheerleaders made traffic a little more hectic around the marina until about 3 in the afternoon, as many spectators were eager to catch a glimpse of the action.

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The final photo shoot of the day was back at the beach to take advantage of the beautiful Florida sunset. These ladies arrived at the beach around 5 for the final shots of the day. The water was beautiful and clear, making for a scenic backdrop as the sun dropped into the sea.

After realizing what was taking place on the beach, several visitors — including a large contingent of Titans fans — began making their way toward the photo shoot, getting a closer view of the cheerleaders in action.

After the final shoot of the day, the cheerleaders enjoyed a fabulous ride on the yacht that they shot on earlier in the day. The 45-minute cruise took the ladies to the Lucky Snapper for a delicious dinner. They enjoyed a menu stocked with seafood, while listening to a live band to end what was certainly a busy, yet exciting day.

Titans Cheerleaders Arrive at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

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By Brittany Evans
Titans Online

*Photos: Cheerleaders Arrive in Destin*
*Video Diary: Cheerleaders Arrive in Destin

DESTIN, Fla. — The Tennessee Titans cheerleaders departed Baptist Sports Park Monday morning, heading south to the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort for their 3rd annual swimsuit calendar shoot.

Nineteen veterans and seven rookie cheerleaders were anxious to arrive in Florida for their first team event of the 2010 season. The three-day event will also serve as a great bonding time for the 2010 Titans Cheerleading squad.

On the eight-hour bus ride, Gary Glenn, Director of Internet Operations and publications, educated the current squad on the Tennessee Titans history, while informing them of the latest news within the Titans’ organization. The cheerleaders took notes on this material for an upcoming exam they will take this summer.

Also on the bus ride, Director of Security Steve Berk shared several stories from his experiences with the organization over his 14 years with the team, specifically the franchise’s transition during its first year in Tennessee. Berk’s memories and entertaining stories kept everyone on the bus interested. This also helped the Titans cheerleaders realize their upcoming opportunities, while validating their importance in the National Football League.

At noon, the bus stopped at Peach Park in Alabama for lunch. The restaurant was a popular stop at about the midway point of the trip. The girls chatted amongst themselves while enjoying lunch. Fried peach pies and baked chicken was the popular item for many customers. While the team dined, one little girl noticed the Titans cheerleaders and personally took time to meet them. The impact of having the Titans cheerleaders at Peach Park was exciting for many of the customers in the restaurant.

After a full day on the bus, the Titans cheerleaders and staff finally arrived at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. They were greeted by a staff that was excited for their arrival at the resort. Their bags were unloaded, and rooms were assigned. The ladies had about one hour of down time to get ready for dinner at the Marlin Grill. In the meantime, organization of activities for the next two days was presented to the cheerleaders and staff by Director of Cheerleaders Stacie Kinder.

The Marlin Grill was nothing but superb to Titans cheerleaders and staff. They served amazing appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts that everyone enjoyed. The hospitality of the Marlin Grill made for a pleasant experience with exceptional service.

The night ended with an after party at the Village Door at the Baytown Wharf. The ladies had a great time of dancing and greeting fans. Some cheerleaders couldn’t stay long due to an early call time for the first photos shoots scheduled for Tuesday morning.

More from Titans Finals

Twenty-six young ladies made the squad on Sunday night at Limelight. Final auditions were to take place this past Wednesday, but due to the Nashville flooding, the venue was changed from Wildhorse Saloon on 2nd Avenue and moved to Sunday. Proceeds from the ticket sales went to relief efforts for flood victims.

Retired veterans Stefanie S., Stephanie A., Melissa and Felicia made the final cut.

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New Squad!

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Alumni

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Chocez and Shauna

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Picking the Squad

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Stef and Jenna

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Tanzye

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Jordan and Melissa

Pictures provided by alumni Carl, of EMG Promotions

Titans Select 2010 Cheerleading Squad

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Gary Glenn
Titans Online
May 9, 2010

Cheerleaders were selected for the 2010 Titans squad Sunday at Limelight in downtown Nashville.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A packed house at Limelight witnessed the formation of the 2010 Titans Cheerleading squad Sunday night.

PHOTOS: Final Auditions at Limelight

The final auditions, presented by Sun Tan City, were the culmination of a process that began nearly two months ago. The evening began with 48 finalists and ended with 26 ladies making the 2010 squad.

“I am thrilled with the team we have in place for the 2010 season,” said Stacie Kinder, director of cheerleaders for the Titans. “The competition was very close, but the judges did an excellent job choosing the best of the best.”

A panel of celebrity judges that included former Titans safety Blaine Bishop, Grammy-nominated and Survivor Final Four contestant, Taj Johnson-George (wife of former Titans RB Eddie George) and former Miss Tennessee, Allison DeMarcus graded contestants on their appearance, physique, dance ability and fan applause.

Final auditions were originally scheduled for last week at the Wildhorse Saloon, but the recent Nashville flooding forced the venue change to Limelight. A portion of Sunday night’s proceeds will aid in flood relief efforts through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (www.cfmt.org).

The cheerleaders will travel to Destin, Fla. later this month to shoot the team’s 2010 swimsuit calendar at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

2010 TENNESSEE TITANS CHEERLEADERS

Alyson (veteran)
Anne
Brianne (veteran)
Brooke (veteran)
Cari
Chocez (veteran)
Clair (veteran)
Danielle (veteran)
Felicia
Janae
Jena (veteran)
Jessi (veteran)
Jocey (veteran)
Jordan (veteran)
Julia (veteran)
Keatyn
Keesha (veteran)
Lauren
Melissa
Natalie (veteran)
Shauna (veteran)
Stefanie (veteran)
Stephanie A.
Stephanie S.
Tanzye (veteran)
Tiffany

Tennessee Titans Final Cheerleader Auditions Re-Scheduled for Sunday, May 9 at Limelight

titansfinalsThe 2010 Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders Final Auditions presented by Sun Tan City are open to the public and be will be held Sunday, May 9th, at Limelight across from LP Field.

The final auditions were originally slated for May 5 at the Wildhorse Saloon but had to be rescheduled because of the flooding downtown.

“I really can’t thank Kenny Winchell from Limelight enough for inviting us to host this event when we were flooded out of our previous venue,” said Titans Director of Cheerleaders Stacie Kinder. “We look forward to putting on a great show and raising some money for the flood victims.”

The auditions will consist of 48 finalists competing for 26 spots on the squad. A panel of celebrity judges will grade the contestants on their appearance, physique, dance ability and fans’ applause. The celebrity panel includes Taj George, a Grammy-award nominated member of the musical group SWV, 2009 Survivor competitor and wife of Titans great, Eddie George; former Titans All-Pro safety Blaine Bishop; country artist Kip Moore; and former Miss Tennessee USA Allison DeMarcus.

“We had some extremely talented women audition this year. We were very pleased with the turnout and the selection process for the finalists was the most strenuous it has been in several years. I am excited about the final audition and the potential for this year’s squad,” said Kinder. “Each of these women have been preparing for the competition and we welcome support from the Nashville community.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. In partnership with Davidson County’s Office of Emergency Management, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has activated its Metro Nashville Disaster Response Fund to help to those affected by the May 1, 2010 floods. Donations of any size are welcome- visit www.cfmt.org

The audition will include a show by the finalists, musical performances by DLS and Greez Monkeez and the announcement of the 2010 Titans Cheerleaders. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door or can be purchased in advance at the Titans ticket office at LP Field or by calling (615) 565-4172.