Softa Vasiliki
Healthcare / Medical Physicist
Softa Vasiliki is PhD researcher in the Medical Physics Department, Medical School, University of Thessaly. Also, she works as a medical physicist in the Radiotherapy Department at General Clinic “EFTYCHIOS PATSIDIS”in Larisa. Her studies include BSc in Physics (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, 2017) and MSc in Medical Physics (Patra’s University, Patra, Greece). During her undergraduate studies at Aristotle University she completed her Bachelor Thesis in Anticancer Hospital of Thessaloniki “Theageneio” (2015-2016) titled “Comparative dosimetric analysis of rectal cancer radiotherapy”, which was published in Physica Medica (2017). In the frame of her MSc Thesis (“Comparative radiotherapy techniques evaluation and therapy estimation effectiveness with DWI in rectal cancer”) she has worked on radiotherapy dosimetry, treatment planning and MRI imaging evaluation at Theageneio and University Hospital of Larissa (2018-2019). Her research interests focus on both ionising and non ionising radiation. More specifically radiotherapy, imaging and non ionising radiation measurements of 4G/5G. The last three years, she has participated in two European projects focused on imaging and Artificial Intelligence. Moreover, she teaches as Academic Fellow in Veterinary and Public Health Departments at University of Thessaly.
Tell us about your career path.
Why did you choose a STEM profession?
Was your interest in STEM encouraged?

From an early age, when I was still in school, I liked science and more specifically how everything around us can be described. That is why I chose Physics for my studies.

During my studies, I managed to find a field that combines my love for the sciences and their applications in everyday life and more specifically in Medicine and the fight against cancer.

After acquiring my Physics degree, I decided to pursue a career in the medical sector leading me to Medical Physics M.Sc at Patra where I first came in contact with the team of the medical physics department of the University General Hospital of Larissa (UGHL). Ever since then, my career has seen exponential growth, having started my PhD candidacy, writing and contributing in numerous published papers, teaching several subjects at the university while also working in the radiotherapy department of a private clinic.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

How was your educational/university experience? Do you have any memorable experiences to share?

The first years as a student were rather dull. That was until my internship at Theageneio Hospital of Thessaloniki, where I first came in contact with Medical Physics and dr.Makridou, who guided me through my first steps. Having found my calling, I later came in contact with the team of UGHL and my current mentors, professor Kappas and professor Theodorou who have helped me tremendously in my career.

Where do you work?
What would you do during a typical day at work? What do you enjoy most about your job?

I currently work at the “EFTYCHIOS PATSIDIS” private clinic in Larissa as a radiation physicist and teach at the University of Thessaly. A typical day at work starts by doing the necessary quality checks on the linear accelerator. This is followed by a briefing on the day’s events and pending issues. Depending on the workload, as a radiation physicist I have to plan the necessary dose that the patients will receive and carry out the quality control of these plans. However, my day does not end there. I teach courses to undergraduate students as an academic fellow of the University of Thessaly.  The biggest pleasure I find in my job is when patients are treated with success and are able to return to living their life carefree, while also being able to contribute to science by transferring my knowledge and experiences to the youth.

What are your plans and aspirations for the future?

I want to help in the fight against cancer by expanding my knowledge and expertise. My plan consists of becoming an experienced radiation physicist who can tackle difficult cases of cancer while achieving a professor position at the university, so that I can help the next generation using the knowledge I have acquired.

What do you like to do outside of work? What are your passions and hobbies?

In my leisure time, I love reading books, spending time with my friends, and organising excursions and trips around the world.

What advice would you give to other young girls and women who plan to pursue a STEM career?

As soon as you trust and believe in yourself, the only thing you should do is to follow your dreams and not, ever, give up. The path to success will be hard, but you will make a lot of friends and find out that many of them want to help you succeed. The key, though, is to have a certain goal so that you have somewhere to aim at but never forget, that as hard as the road may be, never forget to have fun!