A heart surgeon, a neuropsychologist and a medical oncologist were among 12 female medical professionals from Sydney Adventist Hospital who spoke about their careers to around 250 girls from northern Sydney schools this morning.
The inaugural breakfast seminar was held at the Clinical Education Centre on the hospital campus at Wahroonga. It was designed to encourage the Year 10 students to think about careers in the traditionally male-dominated STEMM fields: science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine.
Among the speakers was Dr Emily Granger, one of only 12 female cardiothoracic surgeons in Australia. She has performed more than 100 heart transplants and was involved in the world’s first successful donated-after-death heart transplant, giving hope to heart patients around the globe.
“When I was at your stage at school all I really knew was that I loved biology,” Dr Granger told the students.
“I had a really inspirational biology teacher who inspired us and we always looked forward to the classes and all the pracs, and I knew this was an area that I probably wanted to get into.”
While Dr Granger loves her job, she also strives to maintain a healthy balance in her life: “I have a lovely family and a good supportive husband who understands how crazy it sometimes gets.”
The students responded enthusiastically to the event and afterwards Dr Granger was swamped by girls wanting to know more about her career path.
“I just want to thank you so much,” a Northholm Grammar student told her.“I really liked your speech, it was so interesting.”
Dr Granger hopes her talk will help to inspire the next generation of women to consider going into fields like medicine.
“The importance of an event like this is to really expose the girls to a variety of different careers and really open their eyes to the pathways they can follow,” she explained.
“Life is an adventure, a lot of the time you don’t know what you want to do. Don’t worry if you need a year to sort yourself out.”
The Sydney Adventist Hospital ran the seminar as part of its community engagement program.