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Women in STEM: Sophie McIlveen gives insight into studying STEM subjects

  • Industry

In my earlier years studying at Cambridge House Grammar School, I was encouraged to study STEM subjects at GCSE which subsequently led to 2 of 3 of my A-levels being STEM subjects. The two subjects I have always been most passionate about are Biology and Chemistry - highly challenging but equally rewarding! I cannot recommend enough when choosing your A-levels to consider two science subjects - as this will unlock a range of courses where these subjects are compulsory.

From my A-level choices, I decided to study Biomedical Engineering at Ulster University. This subject is a multidisciplinary STEM field where engineering principles are applied to medicine. Throughout my studies, I have developed problem-solving and critical thinking skills which helped me to secure a placement opportunity during my studies. Biomedical Engineering offers a wide range of areas for graduates to pursue a career such as biomaterials, biomechanics, medical imaging, and tissue engineering.

During my placement year as a Medical Visualization Engineer at Axial3D, I was involved in creating 3D prints for surgeons within orthopedics, trauma, oncology, cardiac and maxillofacial, using segmentation software developed in Axial3D and CAD packages, as well as 3D printer maintenance and research and development into the Axial3D product. All highly valuable attributes which I can now apply to my role with confidence.

While my STEM career is only at the beginning, I have already learned an incredible amount, including the value of teamwork, developed a comprehensive anatomy knowledge and CAD knowledge, and have had the opportunity to use my creative mindset to produce 3D models to meet customer specifications.

I strongly recommend those passionate about STEM subjects to pursue them in their studies as there are so many interesting career opportunities available here in Northern Ireland and also further afield.

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