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  • Two BU alums recently became New England Patriots cheerleaders
  • Both attended Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences to become medical professionals
  • They’ve traveled to Aruba and performed at home games, dancing with rapper Flo Rida at the Gillette season opener

During the week, BU alums Michaela Main and Victoria Nguyen tend to patients, Main as an orthopedic physical therapist and Nguyen as a medical student. But on Sundays, they take on more public roles, as cheerleaders for the five-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

“It’s always been a big dream of mine,” says Main (Sargent’16), who earned a combined bachelor’s in athletic training and doctorate in physical therapy. “I grew up a big Pats fan, born and raised in Massachusetts. When I was done with school and settled in my job, I decided to audition. I told myself, if you don’t try or ask, it’s always no.”

As an orthopedic physical therapist by day, a large part of Main’s job is to meet with local athletes, talk to them about injury prevention, and suggest strength and conditioning exercises.

Nguyen (Sargent’14, CAS’14, MED’16) majored in human physiology and psychology as an undergrad and earned a master’s in medical science from the School of Medicine Division of Graduate Medical Sciences. During a gap year between BU and the University of New England, where she is studying to become a doctor of osteopathic medicine—with plans of going into geriatric medicine—she auditioned and won a place on the cheerleading team. “I’ve always had it in the back of my mind, but never thought it was possible,” she says.

Both women danced competitively through high school. At BU, Main was a member of the Dance Team. Nguyen started out cheering for BU, but after breaking her leg, switched to a dance minor.

The alums beat out 300 competitors in an intense audition process this past spring. Cuts were made throughout the first day, and about 90 survivors made it to the next round, which was run pageant-style at Foxwoods Resort in mid-March, with several performances and a swimsuit walk. From there, 60 women were sent to two weeks of boot camp with the existing team, where they joined workouts, learned and performed choreography, and had lessons in public speaking. Main and Nguyen were among the 19 rookies selected, and they joined the team in April. There are a total of 34 members on the team this season.

“Performing is truly amazing, and we get to do so in front of what I consider to be the NFL’s greatest fans.”—Michaela Main

So far, the biggest challenge for both has been time management. During football season, Patriots cheerleaders perform at all home games and attend a minimum of two rehearsals a week, where they work with cheer team trainer Andy Berler learning and practicing dozens of game day routines. They also make public appearances. Because medical student Nguyen drives from the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, to Foxboro, she listens to recorded lectures in her car and keeps her schedule straight on a big master calendar.

In June, the cheerleaders flew to Aruba for a shoot for the team’s annual swimsuit calendar. That was a learning experience for Nguyen, who says that unlike many of her teammates, she’d had no modeling experience. “The shoot was awkwardly fun because I was trying to figure out what to do with my face and body,” she says with a laugh. “The photographers were great and made us feel comfortable and told me exactly how to pose.”

Now four months into the job, the women have had several memorable experiences, including a season opener performance with rapper Flo Rida. Their families have gone to games to see them perform. And while they may make a promotional appearance with players, they say, there is little-to-no socializing.

Main says her favorite thing so far has been the people she’s met: her teammates and coaches, the organization’s administration, and the cheerleaders’ makeup artists and nutritionists. “Everyone has made such a positive impact,” she says. “Performing is truly amazing, and we get to do so in front of what I consider to be the NFL’s greatest fans.”