STEMM Profile: Associate Professor Sophia Nimphius | School of Medical and Health Sciences | Edith Cowan University | Perth | Western Australia

Associate Professor Sophia Nimphius, Edith Cowan University, Perth WA [Photo: Zal Kanga-Parabia, Photographer of ‘Faces of ECU Research’]

“I have always had a deep-seated desire to grow through learning which helped push through and past any barriers or challenges faced being a first-generation University graduate, of a CALD background and part of the LGBTQI+ community”

Associate Professor Sophia Nimphius, PhD is a sport scientist, strength and conditioning coach, and educator in biomechanics and sport technology. She was previously the Sport Science Manager at Surfing Australia Hurley High Performance Centre is currently an Associate Professor at Edith Cowan University (ECU) with a collaborative role as High Performance Manager for Softball Western Australia.

Nimphius has worked as a sports scientist and strength and conditioning coach in the US and Australia with national, Olympic and professional teams and athletes. She completed her PhD in Sports Science in collaboration with Western Australian Institute of Sport and has a Masters in Exercise Science. She completed a Bachelor of Science (Biology) and Bachelor of Science (Sports Management) while competing as a multi-sport NCAA collegiate scholarship athlete.

Sophia’s current professional accreditations include: Elite Coach in the Professional Coaches Accreditation Scheme with the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCA), Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with distinction with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and Level 2 Accredited Sports Scientist and High-Performance Manager with Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA). In 2016, she became the first female to be elected to the Board of Directors of the ASCA. She has been recognized for her research and leadership efforts by several organisations, including: Female Leader in Exercise & Sports Science by ESSA in 2017, ECU’s Vice Chancellor Staff Award for Inspirational Individual (Personal Excellence) in 2016, NSCA Terry J Housh Outstanding Young Investigator and the ECU Vice Chancellor’s Staff Award for Excellence in Research in 2014.

Associate Professor Nimphius has been an invited keynote presenter nationally and internationally and has published numerous peer-reviewed research articles. As a passionate advocate and mentor for women and minorities, she strives to enhance their representation in science, technology, engineering and math with particular interest in driving their representation in high-performance sport positions.

What would you say is your most valuable personal attribute that has helped you succeed?

Perseverance. I have always had a deep-seated desire to grow through learning which helped push through and past any barriers or challenges faced being a first-generation University graduate, of a CALD background and part of the LGBTQI+ community.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to women just starting their careers in STEMM?

Continually reflect on what you have already achieved because often we overly reflect on what we haven’t achieved. Recognise the resources and challenges that surround your current situation and realise that growth can occur in every environment, just at times which requires some creative solutions for self-development.

If at times your confidence is shaky, where do you turn? What/who empowers you?

At these times you recognise the ever important need to have different mentors, each for different reasons (e.g. similar experiences, skills, long-term outlooks, empathy). However, as each mentor plays a different role in your development, recognise what “shook that confidence” and seek the best person for such empowerment.

If you have done multiple types of roles (e.g. in industry, academia, education, business, government), what skills could be applied to all?

Working across industries has actually developed my ability to be adaptable and to ensure my thinking isn’t “siloed”. I’ve learned to adapt to my environment while still bringing interdisciplinary thinking. This brings a valuable different perspective while also knowing how to build connection through shared language (e.g. Jargon of the role).

Are you a science communicator? Why and how do you communicate?

I make an effort to ensure that science isn’t just communicated to other scientists. I ‘translate the science’ through social media channels but I feel, most importantly, by engaging in person through events at conferences other than those for the scientific community, such as those targeted to the practitioners we want to use our scientific advances.

LinkedIn: Sophia Nimphius

Twitter: @DocSoph

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