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August 25 2015

I Think I Found Myself A Cheerleader! by Celia Schieffelin

Six Pack Abs, Sororities, and Superheroes

What does it mean to be a leader? Twenty one year old rising senior at the University of Miami, Alex Piccirilli, says “Leading comes naturally since I’m passionate about what I’m leading. “Leader” just comes along with the dedication and love for the organizations.” And we couldn’t agree more.

Meet Alex

Alex is a Creative Advertising Major with a Marketing Minor from Tampa, FL who has managed to balance being the graphic designer for on campus dining, an official UMiami Cheerleader, President of her sorority (Alpha Delta Pi), a campus tour guide, Association of Greek Letters Organization (AGLO) public relations and graphic design chair, and two internships. Trying saying all of that in one breath. I’m sure we’re not the first to tell her she’s fit to lead- whether it be on the football field, at sorority chapter, or doing just about anything else.

Her Leadership Style

Alex has always been involved in sports and leadership roles since elementary school, so she says when it comes to being a leader, “It’s just something that comes second nature. It’s an absolutely amazing way to learn more about yourself. You learn a LOT of life lessons from the experiences and it’s definitely helpful when going into the workforce because you already have experiences leading teams and working with people and problem solving… Any leadership position you want to run for in any organization: you need to have a passion for what you’re doing and what the organization stands for – like your values should align with the organization’s. Set aside your personal goals for those of the [organization] as a whole. If you can do that, you will be successful.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 1.47.10 PMOn Being A Cheerleader

What does the workout entail for a cheerleader?

“A typical practice is 2.5 hours and consists of a warm up including stretching, partner stunting, pyramid work, standing tumbling, running tumbling, reviewing dances and cheers that are new or need work, and then we do game specific work so for football that means working on our pregame routine and for basketball that includes what we do during timeouts. Then we will add in cardio at the end, which we all love (lol). We also do training in the weight room which includes full bodywork from cleans, squats, bench pressing, abs, pull-ups, etc. And then they expect us to do more cardio on our own.”

What workout do you do specifically for abs?

“Most of our work as cheerleaders comes from the core so all aspects of our practice really engage our core and are abs workouts in themselves! Most of us still go to the gym on our own or with each other outside of cheer and will do our own workouts include abs – I typically get great abs workouts from Pinterest or Instagram and then from my teammates. Whenever we all gym together we’ll sort of makeup our own abs routines.”

How did you get involved with the UM cheer team?

“I grew up an athlete playing many sports and never once thought about cheerleading. I happened to be a gymnast for years so my friend asked me to tryout for the high school cheer team with her. I then got involved with the UM team by trying out my senior year of high school! I was a cheerleader all through high school so it was a natural transition.”

What’s it like being a cheerleader for the University of Miami?

Being on the team is incredibly busy – we dedicate most of our college lives to practices, promotions, and games and most of the time don’t get as much credit for what we do so it can be tough, but we really are always there for each other and keep one another going. All of the work we put in is 120% worth it. It’s so incredibly rewarding to get to do the volunteer work we do and inspire youth to pursue their college dreams. That’s probably my favorite part outside of showing off all of our skills on game days!”

Do you find people stereotype you?

“That’s a hard question. You are going to find stereotypes everywhere. You just have to know yourself really well and your values and passions and be able to communicate and present yourself in a way that makes people think twice and transcend those labels they might put on you. Leverage your brain, skills, talents, insights, and experiences to break whatever judgments get passed.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 1.47.02 PMOn Being President

Tell us a life-changing story from college:

“Definitely joining my sorority (Alpha Delta Pi). I have met so many incredible girls that inspire me daily. If it weren’t for them, I don’t think I would have even tried for half of the opportunities I’ve had or be where I am today in my career, school, or involvements. I owe a lot of my success to the people that I surround myself with daily because of their endless encouragement and great insights and input.”

Why did you choose to run for president of your sorority?

“It was definitely something I mulled over for a year or so beforehand. I always had it in the back of my mind since I joined – I immediately got involved because I loved everything about our chapter so I kind of thought President would be something I would like to do in the future. The passion and enthusiasm for my sisters definitely keeps me going and made me realize I wanted and could dedicate my time to this huge commitment because I love my sisters and what we stand for so much and would do anything to improve that and reach our goals as a whole.”

Leadership Inspiration

Is it hard to balance being a cheerleader, sorority president, and student?

“Of course! It’s hard for any student to balance their extracurricular with schoolwork. I’ve always been an extremely involved individual, so I’m pretty used to having to manage my time, but I don’t find it extremely stressful or hard because they are my passions. Whenever I’m giving advice to women about how to get involved and manage involvements I tell them to narrow it to your passions. Ask yourself: “What do I care about most?” then from there determine what organizations fit you best and within that what positions fit you best. If you’re doing what you love, you will have time for it and it won’t be a chore or stressful because you’ll want to be working on it. It seems like I’m involved in a lot but it’s not really a long list, I just take on bigger commitments in a few areas because I found what I love in those. It’s not like I’m involved in 20 things just to say I’m “involved.” If you do that, you will probably find yourself stressed or not contributing as much as you’d like to certain ones. I really advise taking the time to explore different organizations and figure out what makes you happiest.“

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 1.46.54 PMThe Fun Stuff

Starbucks or Dunkin?

“Starbs all the way – My little is going to kill me. Technically though, Pasion del Cielo <3”

Publix or Whole Foods?

“Trader Joes! But Publix for Pub Subs, Lemonade, and Buff Chick Dip. I miss it right now!”

If you were a superhero what would be your name and power?

“Well I’m a huge superhero nerd and the Avengers are my favorite superheroes so if I could just combine all of their powers into one and be like something lame like Avenger X (Ax for short? lol) that’d be pretty sweet. And they could just add me to their crew.”

Who’s your celebrity crush (male and female)?

“Male: SoMo, Chris Pratt, Channing Tatum, Zac Efron (forever), Four from Divergent, James Franco. Female: *EMMA WATSON* Nina Dobrev, Beyonce, Jennifer Lawrence, Lucy Hale”

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