Get to know Ms. Sophie Berlouis - Research Scientist

Get to know Ms. Sophie Berlouis - Research Scientist

On the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science,  we honor and celebrate the remarkable contributions and achievements of women in the field of science. Women continue to break barriers, creating an environment which empowers other ladies to also pursue their passion for science. By supporting and encouraging women and girls in science, we continue to unlock a world of diverse perspectives, innovation, creativity and drive transformative change.

We’re excited to introduce you to Ms. Sophie Berlouis, Research Scientist within SPGA, who shares her love for marine science:

What empowered you to choose a career in science?

Ever since I was at school, Biology and Geography are the subjects that interested me the most. I have always been more intrigued and inspired by the natural world, rather than the man-made one. My father played a significant role in driving this interest forward, as he took me snorkelling and hiking often throughout my childhood. We had the opportunity to visit pristine islands such as Cousin, Bird Island and Desroches, where we observed seabirds nesting, sea turtles hatching and more. These memories cemented my admiration for wild animals and ultimately led to my devotion to environmental conservation.

Research Scientist_Sophie Berlouis

As a Research Scientist, what does your work entail?

My work as a research scientist includes report writing, reading scientific papers, presentations and, best of all, field work. I assist with the monitoring of conservation projects, both on land and underwater (e.g. giant tortoise monitoring, wetland surveys, sea turtle nesting patrols etc.). I am most passionate about marine conservation so I go SCUBA diving quite often to help with coral reef surveys and restoration work.

Did you ever want to give up on your career in science? If so, who/what motivated you to keep going?

Never, I could not imagine doing anything else. My love for the environment and wildlife is such a big part of my personality, I have no doubt that this is the only career that would fulfil me. My own passion motivates me, particularly when I read about ongoing environmental issues such as global warming, plastic pollution and poaching – I feel that too few people recognise the value of our natural environment and I want to help change that. I also often converse with my dad about my work, and the fact that he shares a similar care for these topics definitely helps me stay determined.

Share with us the best professional advice you’ve ever received.

Never be stagnant. There will always be opportunities to grow, learn and improve, so try your best to cease these, even if they may seem scary in the moment.

Research Scientist_Sophie Berlouis(2)

Tell us about an achievement during your career that you are particularly proud of.

Completing my university dissertation. It was challenging as it was the first time I had to lead a research project, using a method I had never attempted before, and I did require quite a bit assistance along the way. However, now I look back on it as a great achievement as it took a lot of work, motivation and persistence. I also got the chance to collaborate with two local environmental NGOs and formed great friendships through this.

What’s your message to other aspiring young ladies who wish to follow a career in science?

Choose a field you are passionate about, whether its plants, tortoises, sharks or corals, do what you absolutely love. Remember that you need to pick a job that you are genuinely happy to go to everyday – something that ‘fills your cup’, not drains it.

You will most definitely run into tough times, days where you don’t feel particularly motivated – maybe you studied really hard for a test, but still didn’t get a good grade. It’s okay to be disappointed, but try your best to learn from these events – go to your teacher, ask them where you could have improved, ask for extra lessons if you need to. In the end, you’ll be grateful that you did.  Lastly, remember that you are doing all of this for something much bigger than yourself. The planet needs you.

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