Monash equipping female students to 'Sprint' into their futures

The thirty female STEM undergraduate participants and Lisa Baker, who facilitated the 2023 Sprint program, hosted jointly by Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and Monash Faculty of Science
The thirty female STEM undergraduate participants and Lisa Baker, who facilitated the 2023 Sprint program, hosted jointly by Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and Monash Faculty of Science

The Sprint Undergraduate Women's Development Program is a three day event to enhance the educational experience and future professional lives of female scientists.

Inspired by Oxford University research, Sprint was set up in order to equip students with the skills required to accelerate their potential in all areas of life including academic, personal and professional arenas. The program has been successfully run at an increasing number of universities.

Sprint at Monash University was initiated in 2017 by Professor Chris Thompson, now Monash BDI’s Director of Education.

“The program is about supporting and developing our students’ capabilities and leadership potential as part of their educational experience at Monash,” said Professor Thompson.

“It’s designed to equip female undergraduate students with skills and confidence so that they can make the most of the opportunities coming their way and overcome any obstacles,” he said.

“We had a stellar line-up of Monash alumni who have developed careers in STEM and associated industries, including pharmaceutical companies, CSIRO, Capgemini Invent Australia, ANZ and Deloitte. Our STEM graduates are problem solvers, hence their career options are wide open.”

The Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) together with the Faculty of Science recently hosted the 2023 Sprint program. It is one of many initiatives that form part of the Faculties of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Science’s commitment to gender equity. It ran across three days, 27- 28 June and 12 July.

Thirty female undergraduates in their final or penultimate year of a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (or associated double degree programs) or the Bachelor of Science took part in the program. The split between faculties was exactly 50:50.

Sprint gives female students tips and inspiration promoting active engagement with their studies and careers, improves self-esteem and helps them to hone their goals and aspirations, broaden their ideas about careers and opportunities, widen their networks and make links with sponsoring organisations.

The guest speaker for Day 1 of the 2023 program was Ms Lauren Kelly, Senior Director, Targeted Translation Research Accelerator (TTRA) Program, MTPConnect.

Lauren spoke on the first day of the program and went through her career journey from the Bachelor of Science to her Master of Business (Science and Technology) and Commercialisation. She spoke about how varied her career journey had been and the importance of having mentors in that journey.

The students participated in workshops, listened to guest speakers and worked on a team presentation which was presented to a group of alumni from both science and biomedical science.

On the final day of the program, the alumni panel were present to listen to the presentations that the participants had been working on and also share their advice on how to succeed in the work place. They also networked with each other over lunch.

There is no future mentoring in the program, but students are encouraged to build their peer networks by staying connected with each other via LinkedIn.

Further information

The Sprint workshops are advertised internally to relevant student groups. The process of selection is via an Expression of Interest. If you have any questions, please contact Natalie Seng on

About the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute

Committed to making the discoveries that will relieve the future burden of disease, the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) at Monash University brings together more than 120 internationally-renowned research teams. Spanning seven discovery programs across Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Development and Stem Cells, Infection, Immunity, Metabolism, Diabetes and Obesity, and Neuroscience, Monash BDI is one of the largest biomedical research institutes in Australia. Our researchers are supported by world-class technology and infrastructure, and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to enhance lives through discovery.