Summer 2024 /Global Pomona/

The Sagehen and the Super Bowl

By day, Della Anjeh ’16 works as a software engineer at Google. On evenings and weekends during football season the past two years, she has moonlighted as a cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers.

Her experiences at Pomona College helped launch both careers.

Della Anjeh ’16 software engineer at Google.

Della Anjeh ’16 software engineer at Google.

Anjeh knew she wanted to major in computer science when she arrived at Pomona from O’Fallon, Missouri, via the QuestBridge program. She credits her advisor, Professor Tzu-Yi Chen, with nurturing and guiding her. Her junior year, she landed an internship at a startup company through Code2040—a nonprofit that connects Black and Latino technologists with companies and mentors—when its recruiters visited Pomona’s campus. The internship opened doors, and since graduating, Anjeh has worked as a software engineer at Lyft, Amazon, Microsoft and now Google.

Despite growing up dancing, Anjeh didn’t imagine a career in professional dance. Her first year at Pomona, however, she signed up for a hip-hop dance physical education class. The instructor, Kristen Egusa, was a dancer for the Los Angeles Clippers and a choreographer for multiple professional sports teams. Attending a professional cheer workshop Egusa held in the Los Angeles area exposed Anjeh to the world of professional cheer for the first time. On campus, she also danced with the 5C Dance Company.

Della Anjeh ’16 seen in the center, cheerleading for the San Francisco 49ers.

Della Anjeh ’16 seen in the center, cheerleading for the San Francisco 49ers.

Now for the past two seasons and counting, Anjeh has donned red and gold as a 49ers cheerleader as a counterpoint to her time in front of a computer. In February, she capped her second season with a trip to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, where the 49ers fell to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Besides the opportunity to perform on the world stage, other highlights included watching the halftime show from the field and encountering a wide swath of 49ers fans.

“Being involved in all the excitement was really fun,” she says. Did she see Taylor Swift in the stands? “We got to see just about everything you could see,” she answers.

Not bad for a side gig.

“It’s a flexible enough commitment for people to maintain pretty demanding full-time jobs,” Anjeh says. “I just love to perform.”