Derby girls don’t do “typical.” Members of the Charm City Roller Girls come from every walk of life, work in all types of professions, and take on all kinds of challenges. Our skaters are trail blazers, and over the coming months our blog will feature our skaters that work in positions in science, math, engineering, technology, finance, construction, medicine and other fields that are traditionally male-dominated.
First up, Jackye Peretz, a postdoctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She’s #289 Punchwrap Supreme, blocker for the Charm City Roller Girls All-Stars and hometown champions the Mobtown Mods.
Wanting to be part of the solution to worldwide public health emergencies depicted in movies like Outbreakand books like The Hot Zone was what pushed her into science initially. In her current position, she’s researching how exposure to chemicals or compounds can alter hormones in the human body. These are important for maintaining overall health and are even more important when fighting off diseases such an influenza, which affects the global population every year. Further, men and women can have different responses to influenza, which may be mediated, at least in part, by hormones. We know that these endocrine disrupting chemicals can alter hormone levels in men and women but little to no research has investigated how these endocrine disrupting chemicals can affect our immune response to influenza. Punchy’s graduate work was in reproductive toxicology so learning immunology on the fly has been a challenge.
“I deal with the challenges by playing roller derby and getting my frustrations out in a physical way so I can clear my head,” she says. “Derby also constantly forces a person to interact with many different personalities so that has helped with my interpersonal skills at work.”
“I love a good contact sport,” Punchy says. She started playing roller derby in 2010 because she was bored. She played rugby in college and there wasn’t a women’s team back home in Champaign, IL, so she tried derby. Her first league was the Twin City Derby Girls . She transferred to the Charm City Roller Girls in January 2014. Her name and number are an homage to the Crunchwrap Supreme which sells for $2.89 in her hometown.
Punchy offers this advice to young women pursuing a career in science and public health:
“Have confidence in yourself and never let someone undermine your self-esteem or intellect. Science can be a difficult field for women depending on the field of study, but as Eleanor Roosevelt said, ‘We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot. You can often change your circumstances by changing your attitude.’”
Punchy is a great example of what the Charm City Roller Girls and WFTDA are all about: Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary. To see more of these strong women playing hard and meet the skaters, join us this Saturday, Oct. 18, at Du Burns arena in Canton.
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