After 400 nominations and 215,000 votes cast, Sophie has been ranked as the 5th most influential woman in the U.K. and the #1 most influential female 3rd year at Barclays Headquarters. She hopes to graduate from the University of Bristol this year whilst training as a future solicitor at Herbert Smith Freehills.

Sophie started her journey with Access Aspiration in 2013 when she was offered a work placement with Brick Court Barrister’s Chambers. Since then Sophie has undertaken placements not only at Brick Court but at Halpern PR, Grayling and also with Access. Sophie’s exposure to the professional, particularly legal, sphere gave her the motivation to excel academically and become the first student in the history her school (Hertswood Academy) to achieve straight A*s at A-level.

Sophie has spoken on behalf of Access at 11 Downing Street and the House of Commons on how the charity has shaped her journey towards to university and supporting her thereafter.

Sophie Pender is in the penultimate year of her English Literature undergraduate degree at the University of Bristol. During her time at university, Sophie has been elected as one of just two Student Trustees for the Student Union and was the Vice-President of the university’s JCR.

She set up the 93% club to support and mobilise state school students (According to the Department for Education, approximately 93% of UK students attend state funded schools. At Bristol, students from these schools make up only 60.1% of the student body.) The 93% Club, has been shortlisted for ‘Best New Society’ at the 2017 National Societies Awards.

After she graduates Sophie hopes to pursue a legal career and help improve social mobility for future generations of state school students.