Meet Monash University’s latest Women in STEMM Student Leaders – Sophie Armstrong
When Sophie Armstrong was growing up she wanted nothing more than to be a ballerina. It was during high school that she realised that a career in STEMM would provide another avenue to express her creativity.
“During Year 12 I fell so in love with maths and science. It was when they start giving you your own authority on projects and letting you experiment and take charge with your learning, that I realised I could really make an impact in this space,” said Sophie.
Fast forward a few years and that is exactly what Sophie is doing, as recipient of the inaugural Monash University’s Monash Institute of Medical Engineering Women in STEMM Student Leader Award, she has showcased exemplary leadership skills during her Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Materials Science) and Bachelor of Biomedical Science.
As the previous Vice-President of the Material Engineering Society (MatES) Sophie’s leadership style is one of collaboration: “A real leader should lead from behind and from the side, it is more about amplifying other people’s voices, and recognising and valuing the unique perspective everyone can offer.”
Her approach is showcased as Co-Coordinator of the Material Mentoring Scheme, managing over 20 student mentors and 350 mentees. “I enjoyed the chance to create a community for people to feel supported as they learn and grow,” Sophie highlights.
Her interest for research was sparked during a Summer Vacation Research Scholarship and Final Year Project at the Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute where Sophie worked in the Monash CREATElab developing tissue phantoms for advanced life support cannulation training.
“Medical engineering and healthcare innovation is fast-paced and there is so much to discover,” explains Sophie. “This is a space where every small step is a step towards changing the world. You are making an impact by taking these ideas with the hope that one day they will be integrated into clinical practice and save lives.”
Sophie is currently a PhD candidate with Dr Shaun Gregory where she hopes to continue to be a role model for women in STEMM. “This field is about creating solutions for a diverse society. Therefore, we need a diverse team to ensure representative technologies. We should all have the opportunity to inspire change.”
The Women in STEMM Student Leader Award is the first step for MIME as it focuses on championing equity, diversity and inclusion and advocating for underrepresented and disadvantaged groups in STEMM.