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Grant Collins - UA Cheerleading

To go from being a student to a student-athlete is a major lifestyle change, one that I experienced during my tenure at the University. It was during my sophomore year that I joined the University of Arizona cheer team. As a part of this team I have represented the University at events all over Tucson, as well as at events in Phoenix and in two other states. As a team, we cheer at football games, men’s and women’s basketball games and women’s volleyball games. In order to represent the University, we practice six hours each week and weight lift for an additional four and a half hours per week. We are a partner stunting team, meaning that at each game I throw my partner into the air where she stands on my hands for the crowd to see. This was a sport that I picked up in a matter of a few practices before my first game last year, as I was a late addition to the team. Since then I have continually worked to learn new skills and perfect my technique. While this is not something I thought I would be a part of, I have loved each and every moment representing the school I love.

Along with my role as a cheerleader, I am also a double major in biochemistry and molecular/cellular biology. Life, and these amazing processes that allow for it, has fascinated me since I was very young. I have continued to be amazed as I progress through my courses for both of my majors. To further my scientific knowledge, I have also participated in research in Dr. Jacob Schwartz’s lab where I was a part of ALS research. My project involved adapting protocols used by members of our lab and another lab in order to be able to utilize a new model organism, fruit flies. I found that my cheerleading experiences were helpful in my lab work as it taught me the value of relying on team members and trusting that everyone is both capable and committed to the task at hand. It also provided an outlet for the frustrations that inevitably accompany any sort of research.

While my research has been heavily focused on my biochemistry major, teaching has become my way to get involved with the Molecular and Cellular biology department. I have spent time preceptoring introductory biology lab where I have learned the challenges that teachers face and how to overcome these challenges to facilitate learning. These experiences have allowed me to become an instructor for the lab I have spent so much time with. Since I got my first taste of teaching, I knew it was something that I wanted to pursue; however, my goal after I obtain my undergraduate degree is to attend medical school to become a surgeon.