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Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Sophia Prout

Meet Sophia Prout, our Faculty Communications Manager in Medicine and Dentistry 

Women playing a sport

Q.1 Can you describe your career path, current role and what attracted you to work at Queen Mary?

I did my graduate degree in biology and was lucky enough to work in a lab for two years while I was studying, which made me realise that I prefer to be out and about talking about scientific work. I did my master’s degree in science communication and I’ve been working in the area ever since (over a decade!). My last role at the Nuffield Council on Bioethics challenged me to think about the potential impact that scientific research can have on society, particularly the impact on inequalities. Queen Mary’s values really attracted me to this role, especially the Faculty’s aim for better health for all. I felt that my work with Queen Mary could have a real positive impact on lessening health inequalities. 

Q.2 How has your personal identity(ies) intersected with your work and role at Queen Mary?

In lots of ways! In my personal life, I am passionate about driving equality, particularly gender equality, in sport and science. I play tag rugby for Great Britain and I’ve been trying to make the sport more inclusive – from pushing the creation of the women’s super league to coaching. Last year, Queen Mary researchers working with Leah Williamson (!) published a paper about the lack of sports tech made for women. For example, football boots. At the time of the paper’s publication, there was ONE company that made shoes designed for women’s feet (now there’s two). ONE company, and a start-up at that. These are some of the issues that I face as a sportswoman. At the moment, I am part of an independent group of women that are looking at women’s experiences playing tag rugby – we are undertaking research which we will publish and hopefully drive positive change in the organisation that runs the sport in the UK.  

Q.3 What does Equality, Diversity and Inclusion mean to you and how important is Queen Mary's EDI work to you as a staff member and your sense of belonging at Queen Mary?

I am neurodiverse – I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Often when I tell people this, their reaction is one of surprise – “but you’re such an extrovert!” – or can sometimes be dismissive or belittling (“have you tried making a to-do list?”).

To me, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is something you have to constantly drive. It’s not just something that can be ticked off, it’s about learning about each individual’s experiences and how we, as a university, as a society, can change to make things more inclusive and accessible. It doesn’t just mean being supportive or accepting (though that is important!), it’s about taking meaningful action in whatever way possible.   

Q.4 What one piece of advice or information would be you give to others in the Queen Mary community to help them foster an inclusive environment and / or be an effective ally?

I’d say, don’t try to assume anything about a person’s experience – whether ADHD, racism, sexism, poor health (mental or physical), whatever it may be – listen to them and find out about their experiences. Sometimes we think it’s kind to respond with how we relate to a person, but this can also be belittling. Do some research. What are their challenges? What can you do to help drive change to make yourself, your team, Queen Mary and society more inclusive and accessible? Don’t wait for change – be the change!



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