Baylor Student Named Sports Illustrated's Cheerleader of the WeekNov. 21, 2008
by Jaime Bates, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805
Marisa McKee, a freshman biochemistry major at Baylor University, was named Cheerleader of the Week in the Nov. 13 On Campus section of Sports Illustrated's website.
Sports Illustrated learned about McKee after seeing professional photos taken by her photographer-cousin, Charlie Scroggins. The photos and the article can be seen on http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/sioncampus/11/13/cheer-baylor/index.html.
Growing up in Forney, Texas, McKee began cheerleading in the fifth grade. She not only cheered for her school, but also competed on a competitive cheerleading squad.
Graduating third in her class, McKee initially began looking at Baylor because of its pre-med program. After visiting the campus, she knew Baylor was the school for her. Baylor's reputation for her degree program combined with the Christian education made the decision easy, McKee said.
"I love how Baylor has a feeling of home," McKee said. "I can go to a professor, and they actually know who I am. I am not just a random student."
As a high school senior, McKee was one of more than 50 girls who tried out for Baylor's all-girl cheerleading squad.
"It was the first year freshmen were allowed to try out for the varsity squad," said Susie Oliver, director of spirit and athletic traditions at Baylor.
McKee said cheerleading has been the best part of her freshman year, so far. "It is an honor to be a college cheerleader and to be a role model on campus," McKee said. She also said she enjoys counteracting against the stereotype of a cheerleader.
"At Baylor the cheerleaders are very mature and smart," she said. "It is nice being around that atmosphere."
Oliver agrees. "The entire group this year exemplifies Baylor through both their actions and appearance. They are just a phenomenal group."
After graduating from Baylor, McKee plans to go to medical school and become a surgeon. She believes cheerleading has helped her improve her communications skills and become the well-rounded person medical schools want.
"Looking back at my college career 10 years from now, I hope to say that I not only got a good degree but that I was able to get the full college experience," McKee said.