Between co-chairing Macquarie’s Ally Network and coordinating equity outreach programs, Sophia Halpin keeps busy advocating for causes close to her heart.
Sophia grew up on the Mid-North Coast, near Seal Rocks, Worimi country, in regional NSW before moving to Eora land in Sydney to study Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney.
Sophia worked in International Student Mobility in Sydney before moving to London for two and a half years to work as an English language teacher for refugees and international students.
At the start of the pandemic, Sophia moved back to Sydney, beginning at Macquarie’s Widening Participation Unit (WPU). In the WPU, Sophia coordinates equity outreach programs with students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in higher education.
1. Something you feel proud of
My unit recently delivered one of our flagship programs, MQ inROADS, for the first time since COVID. This involved bringing 50 high school students from regional NSW to campus and giving them a taste of uni life. I’m proud to say it was a huge success.
I am also extremely proud to be one of the new Ally Network co-chairs. It is so fantastic to have a visible network to educate, support, and unite all Macquarie staff who identify as LGBTQ+ community members and/or their allies. We currently have over 600 members and look forward to growing that number.
2. Something you want staff to know about
When I was young and coming to terms with my queerness in a little country town, I literally didn’t know anyone like me or whether I would be accepted if I came out. Getting involved with the Ally Network is an opportunity for us all to show anyone in that position, not only are they not alone, but they are also recognised, supported, and celebrated.
3. A person you admire at Macquarie, and why
My manager, Jacinta Carruthers. She leads our unit with so much creativity, insight, humour, and untiring commitment to our team and the equity space. I’m constantly in awe of her and proud to be her friend and colleague.
4. What you need to do your best work
Plants on my desk, friendly colleagues to swap memes with and my Sapphic Songs playlist on Spotify.
5. A favourite photo from your camera roll
I travelled to Broken Hill recently for work to represent MQ at the Far West Careers Expo. It’s so gorgeous there.
6. The first person you go to for advice (and why)
Lotus Rana. Even though we’re no longer working in the same office, as she has just begun as Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Consultant at Campus Life, Lotus is still my go-to person for work or personal advice. Her kindness and empathy, practical wisdom, people skills, and D&I experience mean that she always helps me work through my problems and see things with fresh eyes.
7. A website or app you can’t live without (and why)
Don’t judge me, but… the Aldi app. You never know what Special Buys they’re getting in next!
8. Where you live and what you like about living there
I grew up on Worimi Country, up north near Forster. I’ll always be thankful for having a childhood in such a richly beautiful place among the rainforests, beaches, lakes, and all the native flora and fauna that live there. Special shoutout to my favourite bird, the King Parrot!
9. I’m happiest when…
I’m at the beach with my friends in perfect conditions
10. What actions can staff (and students) take to make a difference?
Join the Ally Network and sign up for Ally training to broaden our MQ Ally community.