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Sophie

Using a love of art to brighten up the field of medicine.
Sophie is sitting outside at the USQ Toowoomba campus, smiling at the camera.

Having immigrated to Australia at the age of five, Sophie van der Laan watched as her father started his PhD at the University of Southern Queensland.

More than a decade on, Ms van der Laan has followed in his footsteps, diving into a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences. With her sights set on a career in medicine, Sophie was able to stay at home to focus on her studies, thanks to the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship.

'I always knew I wanted to do medicine and was thinking of trying to get provisional entry. Then I heard about the course and scholarships at the University of Southern Queensland, which were a changing point for me. It meant that I could study and stay at home.'

Ms van der Laan got her first taste of life on campus while still at school, after signing up for one of the University’s Head Start programs. Torn between art and science, Sophie enrolled in world history to the 1500s.

'I’ve realised that science, to a degree, has a very creative aspect to it and I love I can get the best of both worlds,' she said.

'Here at the University, people are doing projects such as grafting human organs, and I think that requires a lot of innovation. 

'The University has been a perfect choice for me too, it’s great for personalised learning.'