STEMM Student Profile: Zoe Grant | PhD student in Biomedicine | The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research | University of Melbourne | Melbourne | VIC

Miss Zoe Grant

“Everyday in science is a challenge for me, whether it’s talking to new people or in front of people, and everyday I get better”

I studied a Bachelor of Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI). I’ve been interested in biomedical research from a young age so I tried to get as much research experience during my undergrad as possible, doing subjects with lab-based research projects, a summer internship and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). My eyes were really opened to the issues women face in academia (and more generally) during my second year when I took a sexual politics subject and also attended the Melbourne Medical School: Women In Medical Research symposium.

During my PhD, I’ve had the opportunity to pursue both my research and gender equity interests. I’m the student representative on the WEHI Gender Equity in Science committee and I’m involved in the WEHI Athena Swan self-assessment team. Outside of science, I love reading and writing, and playing mandolin/violin. My dream is to form an all girl bluegrass band so I can break down gender stereotypes there too!

What is it you love about science?

I love the creativity and ingenuity of science. I love the idea that scientists ask the questions that have never been asked before and then find ways to answer them.

What attracted you to your chosen field of study?
I am completely amazed by the regulated way in which embryonic development proceeds and how this regulation goes awry during disease. Angiogenesis is an incredibly important developmental process that can cause or contribute to a range of diseases.

How important are female role models to you?
Very important! I really admire all the women who pushed gender stereotypes and persevered with their interest in science at a time when it was less accepted. These women are important reminders that any challenges we may face now can be overcome.

What has surprised you about yourself during the course of your studies?
I’ve been surprised at how I’ve involved myself in things that I’m passionate about, despite having social anxieties that had stopped me doing so when I was younger.

Everyday in science is a challenge for me, whether it’s talking to new people or in front of people, and everyday I get better.

Do you experience ‘imposter syndrome’? How do you deal with it?
Yes, even to think that I could qualify for imposter syndrome makes me feel like an imposter.

Follow Zoe on Twitter: @grant_zo

[Image attribution: Czesia Markiewicz, WEHI]

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