Sophie Ellis is currently half-way through her second year of studying a Bachelor of Statistics with minors in both Demography and Environmental Studies. We are grateful that she agreed to participate in the first of (hopefully many) Q&A interviews with our current students and recent graduates in the new series 'The Demography Student Minute'.
What was your motivation for choosing to study Demography as an undergraduate student?
I was interested in studying Demography because of how much I enjoyed Geography in high school and due to current global population trends. I felt like this is an interesting area, with broad applications to the environment, town planning, global migration, family planning, and the economy.
What course(s) in demography have you studied so far? What did you most enjoy about the course(s)?
Population Studies (DEMO2001): I really enjoyed how this course gave us the core theory, but then gave freedom in the essay and report to explore niche population topics of our own choice. Because of this subject I got to delve into the reasons for Poland’s population decline and Guatemala’s young mothers. The tutorial discussions often became discussions of hypothetical policies to either reduce the elderly population or increase migration to target the aging population.
Population Analysis (DEMO2002): This course taught me so much about (Microsoft) Excel, and this has helped several of my other subjects. It was well-structured as each week built upon the last week for both the theory, formulas, and Excel techniques.
Is there anything you learned in your study of Demography that has changed how you think about the world?
I see new and different links between countries that I hadn't known about, like countries of different sides of the world with declining populations due to similar fertility and migration patterns. I have learnt about the extremes of the world, and how many tiny countries can contribute to global population patterns. The evolution of our world, and the relationship of age structure to other factors of life has been really fascinating.
What has been a memorable experience or opportunity you’ve had while at ANU?
I've enjoyed living on campus because I get to be around friends all day, every day whether studying, cooking, or having fun. Having so many things happening on-campus and living close-by isn’t something my friends in Sydney have.
Put yourself in the shoes of a Year 11 or 12 student – what would you tell them about studying Demography at ANU?
Demography is the study of birth, migration, and death shaping a community or country. It has helped me understand where Australia sits in the world, from a different perspective. I definitely would recommend taking at least one course, as a way so connecting different subjects together.
Fast-forward into the future. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I see myself working with the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), being part of the publication of global population reports with insight into both global and national level trends.
Learn more about studying a Demography Minor