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Colts cheering, continued...
“Even in Oregon, I did fitness competitions, which incorporated dance,” Broussard says. “That's what kept me sane through graduate school. Having that outlet was really relaxing. It's a stress release to keep your mind off the dissertation that is waiting in your office.”
When Broussard arrived in West Lafayette, she still needed a stress-relieving outlet, so she started taking dance lessons in Indianapolis. The dance teacher, April Smith, is the choreographer for the Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders.
That was not just a coincidence. Broussard says in the back of her mind she'd thought of auditioning for the team, even though she'd never been a cheerleader.
Broussard, 31, was a first-time candidate this spring, and she found that making the team, and staying on it, was not a cakewalk. The audition was a month long with four-hour practices every Wednesday. The final audition was 60 women in front of a panel of judges on the football field in the RCA Dome.
The 2003-04 team of 35 women includes 17 veterans. The women, picked from 300 competitors, range in age from 19 to 31.
“I like this high level of professionalism and teamwork,” Broussard says of the work involved as one of the Colts cheerleaders.
She takes that same attitude to her career as a Purdue faculty member.
She says she came to Purdue because it offered her a chance to participate in the Human Dimensions Research Program, which examines how the social and ecological sciences are related to natural resource management.
“It's becoming increasingly difficult to manage forests because there are so many demands on them,” she says. “They have recreational demands on them, and they have so much ecological value for wildlife species, for water quality and the economic value of timber. People cherish the aesthetic aspects.
“I want to inform the public — whether it's an urban group, youth, adults — about the importance and relevance of forestry. A lot of people don't even make the connection between the forest and their everyday lives.
“Then I want to empower them so they pursue a career in this area or talk with their neighbors and friends about the importance of forests and of conserving them.”
Broussard has set her sights high to meet those goals and balance them with her cheerleader duties.
Besides two-sessions-a-week practices, required workouts at an Indianapolis gym, special appearances at charity events, and appearing at the Colts' two preseason and eight regular-season home football games, Broussard is teaching two classes during fall semester.
“With games, rehearsal, teaching — that's going to be my life for the fall. It will be a good challenge.”
Contact Broussard at firstname.lastname@example.org
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