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Sophia Frentz

Data consultant

Maths and society

Sophia Frentz is on a mission to bring awareness to the data industry

Sophia Frentz is not your average data consultant. A degree in genetics and a PhD in clinical genetics are not the usual requirements for the job. But explosions in data and tech are ripping up the rule books.

“There are so many different pathways to getting to what’s right for you,” says Sophia. “Take any pathway you want but don’t forget to try stuff. You don’t know what will scratch the itch on your brain.”

Sophia is a senior data consultant with Eliiza, a progressive, Melbourne- based company that uses data science to build large-scale solutions.

“Eliiza has very strong ethics so we think of society as a whole and consider all groups,” says Sophia, who is autistic, has a disability and identifies as non-binary (so uses the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘them’).

“I love solving complex problems,” they say, “but for me it’s also about whether I have the right to be non-binary in the workplace. A professional environment that respects my non-binary status is new.”

Sophia has a side hustle, too, reviewing how the scientific community defines gender. “Spoiler alert – the answer is ‘poorly’,” they say. “Being female means many different things physiologically and psychologically – some women can menstruate and become pregnant, and some can’t, for example – yet researchers often group all women as one.

“It can cause harm through misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment. I’m hoping to change that thinking.” – Matthew Brace

Sophia’s study and career pathway

This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Maths & Data 2021.

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