Graduate Research Fellow
University of Texas at Austin
AWIS Member since 2017
“I was able to found an organization supporting women in STEM at UT, and that has been incredibly fulfilling and formative.”
What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned the hard way?
As the founder of a group supporting women in STEM at UT, I have had to learn when to yield to others’ suggestions and when it is right to politely resist and protect the foundation I have laid. I am able to share my passion while giving others ownership and stake in our accomplishments.
What do you consider to be your most important career achievement or milestone?
Recently I was awarded the NRSA F31 award. I have applied on five separate occasions for grants, so to finally win one through persistence and continued improvement was incredibly gratifying.
What do you aspire to accomplish in your career and what obstacles will you overcome?
I intend to pursue a career in Down syndrome research. I am still exploring the form in which that will take place, and one challenge will be finding the right context in which to pursue this career, as there are limited options in industry for this specific area.
Describe an amazing opportunity in your STEM career.
I was able to found an organization supporting women in STEM at UT, and that has been incredibly fulfilling and formative. I have met many inspiring women as a result, and contributed to the career development and growth of women at UT who I might not have even met yet (the group is over 500 women).
How was AWIS helped you professionally and/or personally?
I have met some wonderful women through AWIS. I have also taken advantage of various workshops and resources AWIS provides, which have led to further professional development. I will be attending the AWIS career fair– there I will be exposed to employers I might not have considered and could make valuable connections for procuring the next step.
What are you currently reading or listening to?
I’m reading The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women with a book club and listening to Robert Sapolsky’s lectures.
What do you consider the best advice you’ve ever received?
A favorite mantra is “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Sophie Sanchez is a candidate in the Neuroscience PhD program at the University of Texas at Austin. With a Puerto Rican father and no family background in science, Sophie started a community for women across STEM disciplines and at all career levels at UT to provide support through professional development, outreach, and mentorship programs. In the lab, she studies Down syndrome, inspired to do so by her sister who has DS. In her free time, Sophie plays semi-pro soccer.