Sport loving graduate Sophie Wardle is swapping one close knit team for another as she bids farewell to Stirling and embarks on a career with the Ministry of Defence.
The Staffordshire born footballer, who played competitively for Falkirk Ladies FC during her time at Stirling, will be pulling on boots of a different kind as she kicks off her work with the military as a Higher Scientific Officer.
Sophie, who has completed a PhD in Health and Exercise Sciences, will be putting her research experience to use in understanding the physical demands of military employment and developing strategies to improve the well-being of armed forces personnel.
Now based at Andover’s Army Headquarters in the south of England and working within a research team, Sophie will primarily investigate the physiological risks to, and mitigations for, women in military combat roles.
Her research at Stirling saw Sophie study the impact of high-fat binge eating in healthy men. Participants consumed a six-day, high-fat diet—equivalent to around 4000 calories a day—almost double the recommended daily intake.
Body scans, blood samples and muscle biopsies were analysed and the results highlighted a number of negative responses to this type of diet, as well as some protective effects of consuming fish oil in place of some other fats.
Sophie spent time at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences during her studies at Stirling and a highlight was presenting the findings of her research to the American Diabetes Association.
Professor Kevin Tipton supervised Sophie’s research and commented on its complexity and her approach saying: “Sophie completed an incredibly difficult and demanding study in human volunteers – always a tricky proposition. Despite such a difficult task, she was always positive and pleasant and a consummate team member.
Continuing he said: “Our research in Health and Exercise Sciences is successful only because we have a tight knit team. Sophie’s background as a member of football teams was reflected in her work and attitude. I’m very proud of her work and felt fortunate to have such a great student. She will be missed, but I will follow her future success as a researcher with great pleasure.”
Speaking about her move Sophie said: “I really love my new role, it offers me a balance between science and business, provides a range of new learning opportunities and enables me to really develop as a researcher.
“I will miss Stirling though, I was initially attracted by the academic expertise and the vision of the Health and Exercise Sciences Research Group but once I visited the campus I was won over by the stunning backdrop and the excellent sports facilities.
“I had a great time at Stirling and I really value the education and learning experience I received. The theoretical knowledge I gained during my PhD is invaluable for my understanding of human physiology in my current role, and developing the ability to solve problems and find more effective answers is arguably the greatest skill I could have gained from my studies.”