Sophie Vowden has not stopped since graduating in 2009. She tells her story after studying BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy at the University.
Sophie is very keen to learn about a vast number of sports and the associated sports injuries that come with them, as well working with endurance and sprint athletes.
In 2011, Sophie worked on Challenge66: "This was where an ultra endurance athlete completed 66 ultra marathons (50km) in the 66 cities of the UK consecutively over 66 days, to establish a new Guinness World Record and to raise money for ABF The Soldiers' Charity."
Later on that year, Sophie went on to work for the Sunshine Challenge, where 2 Yorkshire athletes cycled, ran and kayaked from Catterick, North Yorkshire to Gibraltar, Spain.
In May 2012, Sophie was given the opportunity to go to the Warm Weather Training Camp in Portugal with the Olympic athletes, in preparation for London 2012.
Sophie said: "These experiences have been invaluable to me and have driven me to work harder towards Elite Sports."
Sophie is a full-time self-employed sports therapist for Lee Valley High Performance Centre, Perfect Balance Clinic, Station Road Wellness Centre, Essex, Hoddesdon Town FC and Orion Harriers AC. This involves carrying out full examinations and assessments of patient's current injuries and then treating them accordingly. From the varied locations that Sophie works in, she treats track side at athletics, pitch side at football and also in a clinical environment.
Sophie also works closely with the Society of Sports Therapists and is a member of its University Liaison Group and its Communications Group. Sophie explained: "Both of these groups were founded to help educate the public about the role of a sports therapist and to enhance links between student and postgraduate members signed up to the Society."
Sophie added: "The Society's University Liaison Group was set up to help undergraduate students become aware of the opportunities that are available to them once they graduate and to help them in their future pathways."
Sophie has found her degree at the University imperative to her current position. Postgraduate, she has undertaken further CPD courses to enhance her knowledge and is keen to work towards a Sports Medicine Master's in the near future.
During Sophie's degree she completed a sports therapy work placement. She said: "My placement positively enhanced my learning whilst I was at university. You really do learn from observing superiors in the field of work and it allows you the opportunity to see how academia is transferred into a real life setting."
Sophie describes her University of Hertfordshire experience as superb: "The support from the Sports Therapy lecturers was well balanced and I was inspired by many of them. Sometimes being at university isn't just about the learning experience and the academia, but the important personalities and individuals you are lucky to meet along the way, who help you to understand which pathway you want to experience postgraduate."
The advice Sophie gives to students is to listen and work hard: "Be proactive, willing to gain as much practical hands-on experience as possible. Be willing to volunteer your sports therapy services to charity events, this will allow you to gain a wider perspective of your future career and knowledge. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the experience."