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From STEM student to life-saving scientist

​Former Runcorn State High School student, now medical physicist, Lucy Sim, uses new technologies to help cancer patients having radiation therapy treatment

To find your passion, you should follow your curiosity. This is exactly what Lucy Sim did—a former Runcorn State High School student who is now a medical physicist helping cancer patients.

As a young child, Lucy always had a keen interest in science and mathematics, often asking questions like 'Why is the sky blue?' and 'How did a man get to the moon?'.

'Be curious about something, and your passion develops from there,' Lucy said.

Lucy loved studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at school because it helped her understand the complex world we live in, breaking it down into simple concepts.

Her path to her future career was cemented in her senior year in 2006, when she won a Peter Doherty Award for Excellence in STEM Education.

'Winning the award gave me a morale boost when I needed it most,' she explained.

'The pressure on me as a Year 12 student was huge, and up to that moment, it was easily the hardest year of my life. The award showed someone believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.'

After graduating from Runcorn State High School, Lucy went on to study a Bachelor of Applied Science, followed by a Masters in Applied Science in Medical Physics at QUT.

Today, she works in radiation oncology medical physics, commissioning new technologies for cancer patients having radiation therapy treatment.

'I work closely with radiation oncologists and radiation therapists to safely and effectively deliver radiation treatments,' she said.

'My passion is exploring new improvements to treatment practices and techniques—I like to ensure patients receive the best possible treatment.'

If you have a love for STEM, consider nominating for the 2020 Peter Doherty Awards. Awards of $5,000 are on offer for students, teachers, support officers and schools.

For more information, and to apply, visit the Education website. Applications close 1 April.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0) ( )
Last updated
16 March 2020