Meet Sarah Alshammery
Sarah Alshammery is a PhD student at the Westmead Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney. She is based at the Kids Neuroscience Centre, Kids Research at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Her role involves investigating the immune response and epigenetics in children with neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders and she does this through designing assays and finding potential biomarkers through in vitro and in silico studies.
Alshammery has been drawn to science and medicine since she was a kid and fascinated by the many possibilities the field can lead to. However, when she started her undergraduate placement in Associate Professor Wendy Gold’s lab, her decision to immerse herself in research solidified. Importantly, it was knowing that her work may help improve the lives of children suffering from neurodevelopmental disorders.
"I hope my influence in the workplace is positive, dynamic and encourages collaboration. I want to stimulate a welcoming and cooperative culture."
Speaking on this year's campaign theme of "BreakTheBias, Alshammery says, "Bias in the workplace can really hinder relationships and impact the important research that is being done to ameliorating the lives of sick children".
"Eliminating bias means individuals are more comfortable, confident and able to move onto their work without the stress of unnecessary external factors."
She says the way to achieve this is through a "Respectful and unprejudiced outlook. Particularly being mindful of factors which are not universal. These include background, culture, gender, personal experiences, amongst many others".
Alshammery's role models are her supervisors. As she interacts with them daily, she gets to observe how they respond to the demanding aspects of this career, as well as their love for science.
Her advice to other women is, "It can sometimes be hard for those of us who are a little reserved to dive straight into the deep end, but I found that to be the best way to facilitate professional growth".
"Be mindful of things you don’t know and always be willing to learn."