Women in Science 2020

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WOMEN IN SCIENCE 2020


Aviation Development In Africa is a registered non profit organization which consists of young aviators. Our aim is to bring aviation awareness to the youth from under developed & rural areas to different aviation careers. We annually host one of our biggest events #EveryBarHasAStory where we give the learners a platform to learn more about aviation and interact with different professions in the aviation industry. Our mission is to spread aviation awareness and our secondary mission is to fund aspiring aviators in the near future. To Find out more about Aviation Development in Africa these are our social media platforms

FLYING WITH A PURPOSE

Aviation Development In Africa

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CONTENTs

AVIATION DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA

FEATURES

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WOMEN IN THE ENGINEERING FIELD

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FIGHTING GENDER–BASED VIOLENCE

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THE LATEST COVID–19 DEVELOPMENTS

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PANDEMIC RESEARCHERS

6 PROFILE – DR Nwendamutswu 8 PROFILE – dorah Mmekwa

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SHE MADE HISTORY – DR DARDEN

REGULARS

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COVER STORY

SCIENCE NEWS

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AVAILABLE BURSARIES

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QUIZ

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PUZZLES

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ANSWERS

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FACTS

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SCIENCE CENTRE

Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

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ED’S NOTE

team Science Stars

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Editor • Shani Tsai Graphic designer • Stacey Swartz

YOUR life matters!

Contributing writers • Zakiyah Ebrahim • Nicole Ludolph

Has the world gone crazy this year?! From the sudden arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic and the stages of national lockdown, to the immense impact it’s had on the global economy, things have been rather scary. But if there’s one good thing that has come from 2020, it’s the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. While it’s been a talking point for many years, the world has finally come together to support people of colour (POC). Collectively, we stood up for George Floyd and the many others who’ve lost their lives to police brutality, we called out major brands on social media and promped the employment of more POC in senior positions … and we’ve told our individual stories of inequality and the great things we’ve achieved.

SCIENCE STARS Science Stars is supported by:

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Ambassador • Prof. Azwindinni Muronga Sales & Marketing Rep • Ntombizanele Thangayi

Subscriptions • info@sciencestars.co.za Copyright 2017 Roswika Media. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or any means, electronically or mechanically, without prior permission. Science Stars is published by Roswika Media.

This issue is a special one as we celebrate not only women in the STEM field, but women of colour who are about to take over their industries! We’ve decided that no story is more important than yours so we’ve gathered some STEM superheroes and brought you a cover story that’s a little different to the usual … turn to page 6 to see it.

BUILDING LEGENDS

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Chairman • Madambi Rambuda

Join us on our journey through the fields of engineering, medicine and technology. Enjoy!

Shani Tsai Editor

021 839 2507 info@sciencestars.co.za www.sciencestars.co.za /sciencestars.faceb.co.za @ScienceStars2

10th Floor, The Pinnacle 2 Burg Street Cape Town, 8000 021 839 2507 info@sciencestars.co.za www.sciencestars.co.za


T A R M E T S T E A V R I M E L T S T K E A C V R I A M E L L B A C K I V E S M AT T E R B L A C K L I V E S M AT T E R B L A C K L I V E S M AT T E R B L A C K L I V E S M AT T E R B L A C K L I V E S M AT T E R L L T S B T K E A 1 L A C2 L I V3 4 TER M B A C K I V E S M AT E R B L A C K L I V E S M AT T E R T B L A C K L I V E S M AT T E R B L A C K L I V E S M AT T E R L C K L V E S AT T R B 5 BLA 6 K L I7 8 M E T S T E A C V R I A M E L B L A C K I V E S M AT T E R B L A C K L I V E S M AT T E R B L A C K L I V E S M AT T E R B L A C K L I V E S M AT T 9 12 L C K11L V E S B10 I A L L B ACK BL COVER FEATURE

COVER COVER FEATURE FEATURE

OUR LIVES MATTER

THEY’RE STRONG, THEY’RE SMART, THEY’RE DETERMINED … AND THEY’RE LEADING THE WAY TO SUCCESS IN STEM. he Black Women in Science organisation is a place that

launch, the podcasts have been listened to by over 2 600 people

wants to see black scientists reach their full potential,

globally, which has allowed me to grow my network extensively.

and to allow these women to share their research with

others in a way they can easily understand. Here, we get to

Furthermore, during Youth Month (June), I successfully co-

know a few of the amazing women and hear their stories.

organised an online event themed “Celebrating Youth in STEM

1.Anne Chisa

SA”. In the series we identified and interviewed 10 women in South Africa to act as role models and inform the youth about the vast opportunities available in the STEM field. This has been

PhD candidate in Crop Science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal

via Instagram Live interviews, and it was a great success!

(UKZN)

I have had the privilege to be part of amazing initiatives that evolved my view of being an African and a women in science.

“My PhD study title is: Developing local circular economies

I am also apart of part of an initiative called Visibility STEM

through tree planting within urban spaces, using a transdisciplinary

Africa (VSA) who also share the same mission that I do – making

nexus approach; Challenges and opportunities in relation

the work of Africans who are involved in STEM visible. Being

to the social, political and environmental context. This is an

part of VSA has allowed me to be exposed to amazing Africans

interdisciplinary study part of WoodRIGHTS (Well-being, sOcial

in STEM and interview them. I also run the blog page there

cOhesion, and Dignity by restoring environmental RIGHTS),

and help curate posts and articles that will be featured on the

which is a UKZN flagship initiative.

website written by Africans in STEM.”

I have a great passion for science – specifically communicating

2.Edith Phalane

the science in a manner that is accessible to everyone. I launched a podcast called The Root of the Science Podcast.

PhD candidate in Physiology at the North-West University (NWU)

I started this initiative during the lockdown period and have

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Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

since interviewed over 30 Africans across the globe in various

“My research evaluates the long-term cardiovascular health of

STEM fields. The purpose of the podcasts is to highlight

HIV-infected South Africans. Apart from being a PhD, I am also

Africans in the STEM field and give them the opportunity to talk

an active mentor of Eskom Expo for Young Scientists and an

about their research projects in their own voice. I hope that by

advocator of cardiovascular health education and awareness.

bringing the podcasts into mainstream media, they can inspire

I was awarded the TATA Doctoral Scholarship during the

more young Africans into STEM. In a space of 12 weeks since the

Women in Science Awards (2018) hosted by the Department Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

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COVER FEATURE

of Science and Technology, and was listed as one of the young

In Science did I find this voice. My scientific communication

black scientists making their mark in South Africa by National

and writing skills acquired through these workshops fueled

Research Foundation/Women24/News24. I was also selected

me to start a local climate change campaign with the hashtag

as one of the 600 top young scientists in the world in 2018

#MyPlanetMyProblem where the ultimate goal is to get

to attend the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau,

everyone involved by changing the climate change narrative

Germany, wherein I was also a panellist who discussed ‘Health

and doing away with scientific jargon and speaking climate in

innovation in Africa: the way forward’. In January 2020, I was

everyday language – one that everyone understands. Climate

selected to attend the 8th edition of the Global Young Scientists

change has always been depicted as a scientist’s problem

Summit held in Singapore.”

but it is everybody’s problem. The journey does not end here. As a black female scientist, it is my duty to relay the values

3. Tendai Kaduku

of conservation to the public, and to the black community in particular. It’s always funny when I have to explain my field of

MSc in Chemical Engineering; BEng Hons in Chemical Engineering

study and the first responses would be ‘oh, so you swim with sharks in the ocean’.”

“I always tell people that I did not choose engineering, but engineering chose me. I have always been a mathematics and

5. Kimberleigh Tommy

physical sciences enthusiast so when the time came for me to choose a degree program at varsity, I was a perfect fit for all

PhD candidate at the Human Variation and Identification Research

engineering programs. My curiosity led me to choosing chemical

Unit at the School of Anatomical Sciences, University of the

engineering, a discipline I have grown to love so much. I am

Witwatersrand (Wits)

currently pursuing my PhD in chemical engineering and the career opportunities are endless because of the versatility

“I was awarded my Master of Science (MSc) degree with

of the program. I have had the privilege to work in mineral

distinction (and no corrections) from the University of the

processing, manufacturing, academia and am currently in

Witwatersrand, specialising in palaeoanthropology in 2018. My

construction. The skills I have harnessed from my postgrad

research focuses on the evolution of upright walking and how

and career in different industries are an asset which I aim to

we can apply this knowledge to improve our understanding of

utilise gainfully. I therefore am grateful for the opportunity to

how our modern lifestyles affects our bones.

be a BWIS Fellow 2019. The workshops have been amazing, particularly the Business and Entrepreneurship Workshop, which

In 2017, I was named one of the Top 20 Postgraduate writers in

got me thinking outside the box. This workshop awakened

South Africa by Science Today. I was also a nominee in the 2018

the entrepreneur in me and got me working on the concept of

Inspiring Fifty South Africa initiative by Co Create South Africa in

my own pesticides manufacturing plant. The project is still in

partnership with the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

the pipeline and will be released soon; watch this space! To everyone who has a dream, I say wake up and work hard on it

In 2018, I took a break from academia to pursue my passion for

because it is possible.”

science communication as the science communication officer at the Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences. Here, I worked

4. Thembelihle Mbokazi

toward increasing public awareness regarding South African and African Palaeosciences.

BSc. Hons. in Estuarine Ecology; BSc. in Marine Biology I am also currently a freelance script writer for the popular “Science is life and life is science. I’ve never been able to fit

YouTube channel EONS PBS (over 1 million YouTube subscribers)

in, not that I didn’t try to … I did but I failed at every attempt.

where I work with an international team to create content

Fitting in made me uncomfortable, I felt constrained and needed

focused on evolution, but more specifically highlighting the

to create and own MY space. The science field allowed me to do

African fossil record. In 2019, I was selected as a postgraduate

this. I felt whole but the journey was just beginning. Studying

blogger for the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS)

marine biology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal gave me a

where I discussed important topics related to the postgraduate

platform to be myself but I was still missing my voice. I needed

journey such as mental health awareness and the importance

to be heard. It was only when I became fellow at Black Woman

of biodiversity.”

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COVER FEATURE

6. Maserame Cleopatra Mokhane

My aspiration is to become a leading researcher in the field of

PhD student at North-West University (NWU); Hypertension in Africa

CVD and treatment, by developing new intervention studies

cardiovascular physiology, in order to bridge the gap between which are currently limited in Africa. My motivation is to impact

Research Team (HART)/ MRC Research Unit for Hypertension and

society, to add to the body of knowledge and inspire young

Cardiovascular Disease

females to pursue science careers.”

“I obtained my Master’s degree in Physiology in 2016 and

7. Ugochi Lydia Ifeanyichukwu

authored an article published in the international peer journal, Free Radical Research. The results of this manuscript was

Master’s degree in Molecular Microbiology from the North-West

presented at the Stroke and Hypertension Congress in 2016.

University (NWU); bachelor of science honours degree in

I registered for my PhD in 2017 – which focused on evaluating the predictive role of nitric synthesis markers in the development of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and mortality in South Africans.

Microbiology from the University of Port Harcourt Nigeria and NWU “I recently presented an e-poster in the American society of Microbiology online summer of science conference. I am a

My research output will potentially provide insight and assist

prospective PhD candidate and am very passionate about

in primary intervention strategies for reducing the CVD burden,

antimicrobial resistance, development and assessment of new

especially in the understudied black South African population

bioactive antimicrobial agents, bio-control and safety. I recently

with high prevalence of CVD and cardiovascular mortality. I’ve published the findings of my first manuscript in the international

researched on nanoparticles of zinc and iron oxides and its

peer journal, Amino Acid.

application as an antimicrobial agent.”

I visited the University Medical Centre-Eppendorf in Germany to

8. Mangaka Legwete

acquire the skills and knowledge on how to analyse the nitric oxide synthesis markers using Liquid chromatography tandemmass spectrometry. I was invited to present my research at the 8th and 9th DAAD conference. I was also invited to participate in the Young Scholars in Africa conference held in Kenya to discuss the challenges and chances faced by young scholars in Africa. I was nominated by Academy of Science South Africa to

Currently completing Master's degree in cardiovascular pathophysiology at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University; Bachelor of Science in biological sciences; Bachelor of Science honours in physiology at North-West University “I have been working for five years in health science research at

participate in the 70th Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting.

academia, government (tertiary hospital) and corporate (clinical

Other recognition and awards include travel grant award from

project – EthaL, a health promotion idea that incorporates

NRF-DAAD, Artery conference travel award and a DAAD Ph.D. scholarship. As a student, I contribute to the various research activities of the Hypertension in Africa Research Team (HART). I assist with advanced clinical research measurements in the African-PREDICT study, PURE study, and ExAMIN study. Apart from my studies, I am actively involved in community outreach to increase the awareness of science in urban and rural area of North West province during the National Science Week and motivate learners to remain in the field of science and in participating in the science engagement such as Astronomy quiz and Eskom Expo competitions. Last year, I was a site leader at a village Mokwallo Vredefort during the May Measurement Month (MMM), to reach out to the community and increase awareness of hypertension.

trials) level. I am currently working on my BWIS sustainability scientific programs, ethics and social responsibility within the healthcare sector.”

9. Vernetia Sindane Present MSc Environmental Management (University of Pretoria); BSc (Hons) Environmental Soil Sciences; BSc Geology “Education is close to my heart … It helps build character, it leads to enlightenment, and it lays a strong foundation for a nation. I was raised in a township in the coal-mining town of Emalahleni with a father working on various mining projects. I had the resources and opportunity to follow in my father’s footsteps. I became an environmental geologist and am completing a master’s degree in environmental management. I am the founder and CEO of Geolight Group, a group of Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

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COVER FEATURE

companies that share a common vision which is to advocate

healthcare workers in the Ondersterpoort Veterinary Academic

for green mining and environmental responsibility in the

Hospital (OVAH). I am currently doing my PhD on Multimodal

mining sector.

intervention strategies in reducing transmission of hospital-

Celebrating the great women of UWC

acquired infections (HAI) and zoonotic disease in the intensive In my master’s studies I quantify methane emissions from coal

care unit (ICU) in Veterinary medicine. My master’s work has been

fields and identifies coalbed methane reservoirs within South

published as a preprint in research square titled Hand hygiene

African coal fields suitable for extraction. Before Geolight

compliance in the intensive care unit of the Onderstepoort Veterinary

was established in August 2018, I was the managing director

Academic Hospital and is under review with PeerJ journal.

in her father’s mining company LMP Mining and Projects. I was responsible for all of the company's exploration and

I have also co-authored two scientific papers with Dr. ND

environmental compliance operations, including end-to-end

Qekwana and others from the University of Pretoria titled:

management of mining operation, sales and mine closure and

Antimicrobial resistance patterns of Staphylococcus species isolated

rehabilitation activates.

from cats presented at a veterinary academic hospital in South

The University of the Western Cape is home to many inspiring women – who are making their mark at the University and far beyond. Here are just a few.

Africa (published in 2017) and Antimicrobial resistance patterns of Prior to joining the family business, I started off my career at

Pseudomonas aeruginosa species isolated from canine clinical cases

the Council for Geoscience and was involved in various projects

(published in 2020).

focusing on economic and environmental assessment of Derelict and Ownerless (D&O) mines and passive mine water treatment

I am very passionate about championing women’s issues across

of Acid Mine Drainage in D&O mines.

all spheres of life and am motivated by the love of learning, impacting a difference in every space she occupies and mostly in

I am aware that my education is a privilege. My dream

succeeding. I strongly believe that I wouldn’t have made it this

is to help educate a generation of independent, fulfilled,

far had it not been for God by my side. My strength is in God.”

purposeful professionals, especially young people coming from disadvantaged communities.”

12. Moloko Moshokoa

10. Nomthendeleko Motha

MSc student in Chemical Technology at the University of Pretoria

Master's student in Physics (with a special interest in Extragalactic

“I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of

Astrophysics and Cosmology) at the University of Johannesburg

Johannesburg where I acquired my undergraduate degree in

(UJ); degree in Mathematical Sciences (Specialising in

physical sciences, majoring in biochemistry and chemistry.

Dr Fanelwa Ngece-Ajayi Dr Ngece-Ajayi is a senior lecturer in Physical Chemistry at UWC, and a research leader in the field of drug metabolism nanobiosensors for antiretrovirals and Tuberculosis treatment drugs. Apart from her role at the University, Dr Ngece-Ajayi also leads a non-profit organisation called AmaQawe ngeMfundo, which she founded along with five other academics. Together, they aim to change the negative stereotypes about townships and instil confidence among pupils living there to study maths and science.

Computational Science) I further pursued an honours degree at the same institution in “I am also a member of the Center for Astro-Particle Physics

chemistry. Coming from a village called Moletjie in Limpopo, my

(CAPP) at UJ. My recent achievements include becoming a

grandmother has always been the pillar of encouragement to

2019/2020 BWIS fellow, judging the finals of the 2019 Nkathuto

further my studies as she always put emphasis on the importance

edu-propeller innovation expo and becoming part of the

of education.

Through their efforts, they have empowered more than 60 pupils from different schools in Khayelitsha using motivational seminars, workshops and talks. These events are also tailored to provide pupils with information pertaining to bursary and scholarship applications, apart from assisting them with placement at institutions of higher learning.

Supernova Foundation mentoring programme.”

I have co-founded an NGO, Blaze, that focuses on schools in

11. Dikeledi Sebola

previously disadvantaged areas in Limpopo. Blaze aims to motivate, build character as well as expose them to the available

Bsc in Microbiology, Bsc honours in Medicinal Plant Sciences, MSc

opportunities available to them as they exit grade 12.

in veterinary sciences: paraclinical sciences from the University

Dr Imogen Wright

Dr Mmaki Jantjies

Dr Wright, a scientist and researcher at UWC’s South African Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI), was instrumental in the development of a software solution called Exatype, which enables health workers to determine a patient’s responsiveness to antiretroviral drugs.

Dr Jantjies is one of the first black women to obtain a Ph.D. in Computer Science, and has greatly contributed to research on mobile learning technology development for mathematics and science in South African schools, with a focus on multilingual content presentation.

Through a simple report, Exatype detects drug resistance in patients – highlighting the need to avoid certain drugs to ensure successful treatment. The software has the potential to contribute towards effectively managing HIV/AIDS in Africa, and also holds promise in helping detect drug resistance for other disease burdens such as Tuberculosis, Malaria and antimicrobial resistance.

She is currently the head of the Information Systems Department at UWC, and also coordinator of the Mozilla and UN Women technology clubs for girls. These clubs are focused on teaching basic technology skills to young girls in disadvantaged communities, with the aim of introducing the technology industry as a viable career option.

This noteworthy work, done in conjunction with UWC spin-off company, Hyrax Biosciences, earned Dr Wright a second place at the 2016 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) Awards.

Dr Jantjies’ passion for ICT development earned her a spot on the 2017 Mail & Guardian Young 200 Top Achievers’ list, as well as a place on the list of South Africa’s top 50 inspiring women in technology.

I have further been motivated by the dilapidating state of

of Pretoria

acquired knowledge to find ways to bring sustainable solutions

to Pretoria in 2006 to pursue my higher education at the

to the country and continent at large. I am interested in

University Of Pretoria. My MSc dissertation in veterinary public

bioremediation and the bioenergy sector.”

health investigated the hand hygiene compliance among 10

Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

fishgate.co.za_UW7891

education and lack of employment in South Africa to use my “I am originally from Tzaneen in Limpopo province but moved

For more inspiring stories, visit www.uwc.ac.za


NEWS

MAKING HEADLINES HERE’S WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING IN THE WORLD OF STEM. Mask magic for Madiba For Nelson Mandela Day, celebrated on 18 July, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) donated over 3 000 masks to schools, orphanages and old age homes in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria. CSIR Acting Group Executive: Human Capital, Andile Mabindisa, said the CSIR is contributing to government’s call to assist and protect vulnerable communities during this pandemic, and this is in line with the organisation’s mandate to improve the lives of South Africans. “During this pandemic, pupils and the elderly are most vulnerable. The CSIR wants to ensure that learners, especially in disadvantaged

It’s what we build

school, are still able to attend school in a safe and enabling environment during this difficult time. The learners are potential science, engineering and technology base candidates, while the elderly are identified as vulnerable as they are more at risk of contracting Covid-19, and have less chances of recovery. Therefore, they must be protected all the time,” said Mabindisa.

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We all dream of a better future. For ourselves, our families and our country.

Gassing up An underwater methane leak has been discovered in Antarctica. The active gas leak exists just below the ice shelves and researchers say

SANRAL, as part of the National Development Plan, is improving and expanding vital road infrastructure. In the process we are creating jobs, transferring skills and developing opportunities for all South Africans.

it could change the region’s climate over the years. Methane is a greenhouse gas and while its presence is not the biggest problem, it

We are proud to be a part of the National Development Plan, because we know that roads are more than just roads, they pave the way to a better future.

haven’t really been accounted for. So now, they need to take this into consideration when predicting the future effects on the climate.

is a concern that the gas is not being consumed by microbes fast enough. Usually, these microbes consume the gas before it is able to make its way into the atmosphere. Researchers have said that when studying climate change, underwater gas leaks into the atmosphere

#Hotelgoals! The world’s first floating eco-luxe suite, has been launched under the collective name, Anthénea hotel suites. The 50m2 suites are solar-powered and their motorised roofs block heavy wind. With all-round views of the ocean and a glass bottom, the suite allows you to enjoy the ocean completely. The idea was formed with the environment in mind: relieving the seaboard of the many buildings that are erected for tourists.

More than just roads

Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

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ENGINEERING

WOMEN TO WATCH DISRUPTING THE GENDER STATUS QUO IN ENGINEERING: FOUR WOMEN SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES. By: Zakiyah Ebrahim

Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

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TRENDING TOPIC ENGINEERING

ENGINEERING

E

ngineering is a rewarding career path with plenty

it was unfortunately only for civil engineering. I submitted my

of unique opportunities. These four inspiring women

application anyway, although it was unsuccessful. However, a few

offer some words of advice to those wanting to enter

months later, I got a call from their HR department because my

the field.

CV was on their database, and they informed me about a vacancy. I went in for an interview and got offered the job on the spot!

What led me to the path of civil engineering I always enjoyed maths and physics in high school and

My career highlights

wanted to study something that would require analytical

My best engineering experience was in 2016. I was the lead

thinking and problem-solving. During grade 11, WomEng

engineer on a hydropower project in Paarl for Drakenstein

(a leadership programme that develops and retains women

Municipality, which is a pump and turbine station. It’s actually the

engineering leaders globally) visited my school and

first installation for a municipality of its kind in South Africa. It

encouraged learners to enter the field of engineering.

was quite challenging because we couldn’t find a reference of it being done elsewhere, so we literally had to build it from scratch.

After attending their workshop and completing a project on low-income housing, I realised the potential of an engineer

The biggest validation was when the project won two national

to make a positive impact on someone's life. This, along with

engineering awards: the South African Institute of Civil Engineers

additional research, played a big role in my decision to study

(SAICE) award for the best Water Engineering Project of 2018,

civil engineering.

and the Consulting Engineers South Africa's CESA Aon

Engineering Excellence Awards for projects with a value of less

My university experience

than R50 million.

It was challenging, both academically and emotionally, but in the end it moulded me as a person. I’ve learned that failure is

What to know if you’re interested in studying engineering

a great learning aspect: it only teaches you to do better.

If you’re interested in entering the field, I’d advise you to do your research first. I didn’t have the opportunity of job-shadowing, but

Travelling for work

I would definitely motivate people to do it so that they can see

I have travelled for work within the Western Cape, to small

what engineers do on a day-to-day basis.

towns along the West Coast such as Saint Helena Bay and

HOLIDAY KADADA, 36, ELECTRICAL ENGINEER CURRENTLY THE PROJECT LEADER/ LINE MANAGER AT ZUTARI (FORMERLY AURECON)

Piketberg. I’ve also travelled to Mossel Bay for a visual inspection of the condition of the roads. Job shadow, communicate, and be prepared for sacrifice Find out exactly what each engineering discipline entails

And when you get there, people are very inclined – especially in job-shadow situations – to show you the ‘good parts’ of the job because they want to impress you and to get you into it. But never be afraid to ask the difficult questions to get the real feel of the actual work. So as much as you’re taken in by the romance of the

and commit to job-shadowing as much as you can. Also,

work, always remember to ask real world applicable questions.

communicate with people in the industry and not simply those

ZEENAT ALLIE, 28, JUNIOR CIVIL ENGINEER CURRENTLY EMPLOYED AT HATCH

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Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

that are studying, because being an engineering student and

What my job entails

A word of advice for women wanting to enter the field

working as an engineer are two very different experiences.

I work as a consultant engineer predominantly in the water and

The industry is so much better now compared to when I first

Most importantly, if you do want to study engineering, know

waste water treatment space. A running joke in my team is: “As

started in 2012; it has really opened up to women. I see a greater

that you have to be fully committed because it involves a lot

long as people flush toilets, we’ll always have work,” which is

presence of women in the office, including in management roles

of hard work and sacrifice.

funny but true. My job is one of the most interesting processes

which is always empowering.

and is multidisciplinary – you learn from and work with engineers If you plan on entering the field, do this…

from several branches, including civil engineers, mechanical and

But my advice to women entering engineering is that as much as

Try to get yourself as many mentors as you possibly can, so

structural engineers.

there may be opposition and biases against you, do not let that

that you can receive valuable guidance for the duration of

be your narrative and do not let it affect what you do. It is your

your studies as well as when you enter the workplace.

Landing my first job

determination and drive that takes you wherever you’re going

I learnt about Aurecon through a Google search. When I browsed

to go. So let external forces say whatever they want because the

their website, I knew I wanted to work for them so before they sent

only person you’re competing with is yourself. In the end, you are

out a call for applications, I got my CV and cover letter together

producing magic and doing amazing things is something no one

and sent it off. When the call for applications eventually opened,

can deny, so do you! Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

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ENGINEERING

ENGINEERING

Being a plant chemist

Biomedical engineering in a nutshell

I changed my career path to renewable energy in 2016. I have

Biomedical engineering is a massive field that relates to any

since been working for an international company focusing on

medical devices, equipment, or research. Examples of the

cleaner, greener and sustainable energy.

research we do at UCT is improving image modalities such as MRI, developing 3D models of anatomy, designing medical tools

As the plant chemist I am responsible for the chemistry aspect

or implants, or researching the mechanics of the heart.

in the energy production process. I control the production of

quality steam, the water treatment plant and the recycling of

What prompted me to do my PhD in biomedical engineering

waste water to acceptable conditions.

I always wanted to pursue biomedical engineering (which isn’t offered at an undergraduate level at most universities) and

My best experience as an engineer

have a passion for research and teaching. My research involves

At this point in time I can’t say that there is any specific event

studying virus mechanics and vaccines, specifically related to

or experience. Every problem that I experience is different in

HIV and how the virus interacts with human cells.

comparison to the last. Being able to show yourself that no

problem is unsolvable with science on your side is really the

My best experience during my academic career

highlight of my career thus far.

Travelling abroad to complete research at an international institution, I was able to travel to the Netherlands for three

On entering the field of engineering

months for both my Master’s and PhD.

Go for it – it’s worth it. Engineering is a discipline that changes

your mindset, your way of thinking, and the way you observe

Being a woman in the academic field of engineering

various situations. In chemical engineering, the career options

During my undergraduate degree it was an extremely masculine

are endless!

environment, with a disproportionate number of male students. I felt a lot of pressure to be ‘one of the guys’. However,

LAURENIQUE CLOETE, 29, PLANT CHEMIST CURRENTLY WORKING ON WATER AND WASTE WATER PURIFICATION AT ABENGOA, KHI SOLAR ONE

18

My career path as a woman in engineering

biomedical engineering has a higher proportion of female

Engineering is one of the most male-dominated industries. In

enrolment. The division also falls within the Faculty of Health

2017 it was found that only 11% of all engineers worldwide

Sciences which has much more female representation among

are female! However, the industry is slowly graduating towards

the staff members. I found it not only helpful, but inspirational

a more equal working environment, for example, our plant

to have so many women in leadership roles.

director is female, and she is highly respected.

Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

Advice for women who aspire to a career in engineering Be prepared for difficulties: engineering and science is still not an environment that is particularly welcoming to women. But if it is something you are interested in, do not be dissuaded by

LEE KRUSE, 27, BIOMEDICAL ENGINEER CURRENTLY STUDYING TOWARDS A PHD AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN

anyone. Women are brilliant and we have the capacity to be brilliant in engineering and science.

Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

19


MENTAL HEALTH

MENTAL HEALTH

T

here’s no doubt about it – gender-based violence (GBV) is out of control. In the first three days of the Covid-19 lockdown, the South African Police

Service (SAPS) received 2 300 complaints related to GBV.

4. POWA

This is according to fact-checking website AfricaCheck,

1. SADAG

who also found that every three hours, a woman is

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG)

murdered in South Africa. The country has one of the

offers advice and assistance to people with mental health

highest femicide rates in the world, with a 2016 report

problems. They recommend that women who experience

from the World Health Organisation ranking South Africa

abuse try these techniques to deal with the trauma:

the fourth most dangerous country for women globally.

SAYING NO TO GBV GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA IS AN ONGOING PROBLEM. HERE’S HOW YOU CAN GET HELP IF YOU’RE A VICTIM. By: Nicole Ludolph

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-

Tell someone you trust about the abuse, or visit

Uyinene Mrwetyana (19), Janika Mallo (14), Jesse Hess

a professional counsellor.

(19), Tshegofatso Pule (28), Altecia (28) and Raynecia (7)

-

Join a support group who will allow you to

Kortjie, Naledi Phangindawo (25), Nompumelelo Tshaka

repeat your story while listening with patience.

(45), Nomfazi Gabada (17), and Lindelwa Peni (43) … These

-

Try meditation or body therapy to reconnect with

are just some of the names of the women and girls killed

your body. Abuse victims often feel separated

by men in the last year alone.

from their bodies. Body therapy such as yoga is

a good way to get back in touch with your body.

There seems to be no end to the parade of women

-

Remind yourself that the abuse you endured is

who die or are hurt in GBV incidents, despite numerous

not your fault. You are not responsible for the

protests and hashtags like #AmINext, #TotalShutDown

actions the abuser committed against you.

and the international movement #MeToo. The cost of GBV is very high for its victims and survivors.

POWA provides telephonic as well as face-to-face counselling to victims of GBV. They also arrange temporary shelter for abused women, as well as legal help. For more information, go to their website powa.co.za or call them on 011 642 4345.

5. CHILDLINE Children are often caught up in the net of domestic violence. The non-profit organisation Childline provides free counselling to abused children and their families They help children who experience physical and sexual abuse, have substance abuse issues, behavioural problems and who need to escape child trafficking. For more, visit childlinesa.org.za or call them on 0800 055 555.

APPS TO HELP KEEP YOU SAFE

For more information and help, visit sadag.org or call

Given how widespread the problem of crime and

0800 456 789 – this line is available 24 hours a day.

GBV is, cellular technology has developed to include safety apps.

Global aid organisation UN Women found that victims

2. TEARS

of GBV often develop mental illnesses or issues such

TEARS Foundation is another organisation that is

One such app is Namola, which allows you to press and

as major depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress

dedicated to helping abused women and children. The

hold their “Request Assistance” button in an emergency

disorder due to the trauma of their abuse. They are also

foundation produces informational leaflets and school

situation. The button sends an alert to their control

at risk of abusing alcohol or drugs.

education programmes around the issue of GBV. For more

room, so you can get the assistance you require.

information on the services they offer, go to tears.co.za. Sexual abusers strip women of their bodily autonomy,

If you are experiencing domestic abuse or GBV, you can

Life360 is another safety app you can use to alert others

which is why they are also vulnerable to sexual

contact them from your cell phone by dialling *134*7355#

of when you are in danger. Unlike Namola, this one does

and reproductive health problems such as sexually

at any time or by emailing info@tears.co.za.

not offer a direct line to emergency services. Rather, it

transmitted infections (including HIV), and other chronic

allows you to send alerts to your friends or family via a

only experience risks to their health but also to the health

3. THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

of the fetus, and abused women are often not just harmed

The Department of Social Development has also set up

by their partners, they also experience social isolation and

an emergency line for people facing GBV – call them

You can find both of these apps in the Play store if you

are marginalised by others in their community.

on 0800 428 428. You can also send a “Please Call Me”

have an Android phone or the Apple App store if you’re

to *120*7867#. If you are a person with disabilities, you

using an iPhone.

conditions. Mothers who are abused during pregnancy not

“private circle” so they can monitor your movements and be alerted if anything unusual happens.

Luckily, there are a few great organisations dedicated to

can SMS “help” to 31531. People who are hard of hearing

helping women who are stuck in a cycle of abuse.

or deaf can send a request via Skype to HelpmeGbv. The Department’s website address is gbv.org.za.

Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

21


COVID-19

COVID-19

T

he Covid-19 pandemic has made a huge impact

diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell,

around the world and has brought life as we know

a rash on skin, discolouration of fingers or toes.

it to a halt. While it’s easy to become swept up

Serious symptoms: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath,

by the storm of bad news, we bring you a few positive

chest pain or pressure, loss of speech or movement.

developments to remind you that it’s not all gloom and The drug that can save lives and shorten time in ICU

doom in this global crisis.

Remdesivir, an antiviral drug, was first approved as one of Positive development in Oxford University vaccine trials

the first official treatments for Covid-19 in June. Since then,

The University of Oxford is currently testing a potential

further research was released by the Boston University

Covid-19 vaccine, named AZD1222. They enrolled more than

School of Public Health (BUSPH) that suggested that the

4 000 volunteers for the study, which is ongoing. Early results

drug can reduce the Covid-19 death rate by as much as

(released in July) from the clinical trial is promising as it

30%, and lessen the time a patient needs in the intensive

triggered a positive immune response in participants, and

care unit (ICU). In a South African context, this equates to a

had minor side effects.

total of almost 13 647 avoidable South African deaths by December 2020.

The same vaccine candidate is also currently being tested

PANDEMIC DEVELOPMENTS HERE’S ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE LATEST RESEARCH ON COVID-19. By: Zakiyah Ebrahim

in South Africa and Brazil. South Africa’s trial started in June and is being led by Professor Shabir Madhi, who recently said that they plan to enroll 2 000 volunteers by mid-August this year. Brazil’s study is also underway and has enrolled approximately 5 000 volunteers.

COVID-19 TERMS EXPLAINED

When will a vaccine become available? At the time of publishing, there were more than

Coronavirus

160 Covid-19 vaccines in development, while 26 vaccines

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause

were already in human clinical trials. However, should any

illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe

of these prove successful, it may only become available and

diseases, including severe acute respiratory syndrome

accessible in 2021 as billions of doses of vaccine will be

(SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The

required worldwide. This means that non-pharmaceutical

SARS coronavirus was first identified in 2002, and named

interventions (such as frequent handwashing, social

SARS-CoV.

distancing and mask-wearing) are currently the best ways

SARS-CoV-2

to limit the spread of the virus.

This is the name given to the new coronavirus that was Newer symptoms added to list

initially detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, China.

Since the outbreak, the following were listed as the most

SARS-CoV-2 is genetically closely related to SARS-CoV.

common symptoms of Covid-19 (the disease caused by the

Covid-19

new coronavirus): dry cough, fever, and tiredness.

According to WHO, 'CO' stands for corona, 'VI' for virus, and However, latest research has led to health organisations and

'D' for disease (‘coronavirus disease of 2019’). Covid-19 is

agencies expanding this list to now include the following:

the respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.

congestion/runny nose, nausea, diarrhoea, and new loss of taste or smell. The full list of symptoms are, according to the

Sources: University of Oxford, BBC, Health24, WHO, CDC,

World Health Organization (WHO):

SACoronavirus.

Most common symptoms: fever, dry cough, tiredness. Less common symptoms: aches and pains, sore throat,

22

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COVID-19

COVID-19

Making headway in Covid-19 research MEET THREE BLACK SCIENTISTS WHO ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE. By: Zakiyah Ebrahim

W

hile it’s difficult to anticipate what the long-term

Through CrowdFight Covid-19, volunteer scientists from

impact of the Covid-19 crisis will be, right now,

different countries around the world are working together to

scientists are urgently mobilising the fight against

support the fight against the pandemic. The initiative is run

the world’s biggest invisible enemy, the new coronavirus.

by a group of highly experienced and qualified scientists and

We take a look at three top black scientists who have been

researchers who allocate particular tasks or experiments to

tirelessly working to help conquer the virus.

other researchers and scientists across the world. The aim is to utilise the scientific community, as well as to spread out the

Caroline Pule

workload of finding the cure for Covid-19 (the disease caused

Pule, who resides in Cape Town, is a medical scientist and is

by the virus, SARS-CoV-2), and how to best manage the virus.

currently enrolled for a doctoral degree (PhD) at Stellenbosch University. Her research focus is on tuberculosis (TB) drug

As a volunteer scientist and one of their local contact teams

resistance, and she is assisting a global organisation, called

in South Africa, Pule told Science Stars that she receives tasks

the CrowdFight Covid-19 initiative, to help find a cure for the

weekly, and sometimes biweekly, which are distributed based

disease that has killed more than 670 000 people worldwide.

on the scientist's expertise areas.

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“If a scientist or researcher is able to do the research tasks,

“My experience has made me realise that sometimes we

they accept it and are then connected to specific scientists

courageously make hard decisions and sacrifices that

to allow them to continue doing the research, and it could

might put our lives at risk to help wherever possible

range from data analysis, to review papers, to discussion,

during this health crisis. We know God has called us

or providing advice regarding experimental protocols, etc.”

forward, and that it had to be done for the health of our people, no matter how tough the journey can be. While we

Pule, who is also the vice-chair of the Organisation

are aware of the challenges, we must remain focused on

for Women in the Science for the Developing, South

the main vision, which is defeating Covid-19. The victory

African National Chapter (OWSD SANC), found out about

is yet to come!”

CrowdFight Covid-19 on the internet after browsing for national and international organisations seeking volunteer

Dr Kizzmekia Corbett

scientists to assist in combating the pandemic. “I read

Corbett is a viral immunologist at the National Institutes

about it and it was just a perfect initiative to consider.”

of Health (NIH) in Maryland, US. She is also leading the effort to develop an mRNA vaccine (made by biotech

Pule had been following the global news on the

company, Moderna) for Covid-19. Results from an early

coronavirus outbreak since December 2019, when it was

phase of the trial in July appeared safe and provoked an

first reported in Wuhan, China, to the time it was declared

immune response in 45 people in the study. “It exceeds all

a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

expectations,” Corbett told the New York Times.

(A pandemic is a disease outbreak that spreads across multiple countries or continents.) When this happened, she spent some time fully understanding the virus and its origin, and the impact it’s had on the world.

“When I noticed how badly the pandemic is affecting us, it hit me really hard”

According to Diverse magazine, while Corbett feels there is pressure, at the same time, “there is an overriding sense of purpose,” she said, adding: “What I have to give [during this pandemic] is the science that can hopefully inspire; create some hope; and, if it all goes well, render a

product that will be useful in saving lives.” “When I noticed how badly the pandemic is affecting us, it hit me really hard. And that’s when I decided that I had

Dr Christopher Barnes

to do something. Due to my passion for global health,

Barnes is currently conducting research in the fields

medical research and ensuring we have a disease-free

of biochemistry and biophysics in the lab of Pamela

nation, I felt the need to come forward and contribute in

Bjorkman at Caltech in the US. His research is aimed

any way possible to mitigate the effects of Covid-19.

at helping to find a cure for Covid-19 by crystallising antibodies.

“Additionally, as a medical scientist with a background of working with one of the deadliest communicable diseases,

“Simply put, we are trying to learn how the body uses

drug-resistant TB, and serving in a number of health and

immune defenses to combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus with

sciences organisations, it was only logical to do something,

the hope that this knowledge will pave the way to create

even if it was simply through volunteering my skills and

an effective vaccine.”

expertise,” she says. “We obtained blood samples from people who had The experience so far has been humbling and meaningful

recovered from Covid-19 … and isolated each person’s

in many ways, says Pule. Above volunteering as a medical

unique mixture of antibodies to discover which types

scientist, Pule also volunteers her time to a Cape Town

of antibodies are best at fighting or neutralising the

community-based outreach programme, called Helping

virus,” Barnes explained to Diverse magazine. His work is

Feet, where she has been educating street-based people

being done in collaboration with the Nussenzweig Lab at

about Covid-19 during lockdown.

Rockefeller University in New York. Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

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PROFILE

PROFILE

D

zivhuluwani (Dzivhu) Nwendamutswu has

She was later involved in the testing and reporting

helicopter, and long flights in between countries. You could

made significant strides in the vertical

compliance of mechanical products as the South African

say I had no real home per se, and a 10kg bag with a few

transportation industry. As Woolworths’

Bureau of Standards.

essentials to take along with me. Although this was fun, the

national mechanical engineer, Nwendamutswu shares

North Sea was no joke.

the story of her career path and success, and offers

Fast-forward to 2012, Nwendamutswu landed her first job as

advice on taking that leap of faith.

mechanical engineer for Woolworths, where she was involved

“I loved what I was doing, but doing it in that kind of

in the overall management of the mechanical engineering

environment – the cold and rough sea – was gruelling. And

Nwendamutswu (35) grew up in Thohoyandou,

aspects within the business, which included new installation

spending summer in Norway meant spending 24 hours in

Limpopo. As a bibliophile from a young age, she

of mechanical units. The company’s mechanical engineering

complete daylight (from May to July, the sun never sets).

tells us of her fondest childhood memories: “I loved

department manages the maintenance of mechanical fixed

After spending 44 days at sea during one summer, I was over

reading novels and had read a countless amount by

assets in all of their stores, and includes, among others, lifts

it. I missed the inland.”

the time I reached high school. My mother kept all

and escalators; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

the books she read, including the academic ones. Her

Despite the taxing experience in the petroleum industry,

fondest memory of my childhood is that, during the

“Learning is an ongoing process”

Nwendamutswu says she will never trade it for anything

time I was in grade 1 and 2, I was reading a grade

Moving from the petroleum to the mechanical engineering

else, but that she thoroughly enjoys being in her current

12-prescribed literature novel. She would hide the

industry was “neither scary nor intimidating,” says

industry as she gets to interact with people a lot more, and

books, and I would steal them in the day and read

Nwendamutswu, who worked with motors and moving

appreciates living inland more than being out at sea.

them at night, in secret – sometimes under

machinery throughout her career. Each workday is different

my blankets.”

Forging a fruitful path in engineering MEET DZIVHULUWANI NWENDAMUTSWU – AND LISTEN TO HER STORY OF CHANGE AND SUCCESS. By: Zakiyah Ebrahim

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“I love new challenges and am stimulated by learning

As a mechanical engineer for Woolworths, the portfolio

Educational background

new things, so it was exciting more than anything else.

Nwendamutswu manages is quite diverse, allowing her to

Nwendamutswu’s educational background is

I was also pretty clued up about hoisting

get plenty of exposure.

both multi-faceted and incredibly impressive.

equipment (which lifts loads), and so,

She matriculated from Thohoyandou Technical

applying this knowledge to lifts and

High School, and earned her national diploma in

escalators wasn’t complex. However,

mechanical engineering at the Cape Peninsula

I had to learn about the regulations

University of Technology (CPUT). On top of that, she

and required annexures for the lifts

ended up on the Dean’s Merit List and also got to

and escalators in order to legally

address the mechanical engineering post-graduates

operate. I learnt a lot on the job and

on their graduation day.

since learning is an ongoing process, I am still learning to

gaps (areas of need) within my area of work, finding a

this day,” she adds.

solution to it, and motivating and obtaining buy-in from

“I love new challenges and am stimulated by learning new things more enjoyable”

Since then, Nwendamutswu’s additional academic

“Having a diversified portfolio keeps me on my toes, as there are always opportunities to improve and grow on an individual level, and grow the mechanical department as a whole. I take a special interest in identifying

stakeholders, thereby seeing those concepts come to life..”

accomplishments include completing courses in

Some of the wonderful projects Nwendamutswu has managed

operations management from the University of Cape

include the complete installation of two goods lifts in the

A word of advice on entering the industry

Town (UCT), and the new managers' development

Woolworths Parow Centre, as well as the replacement of two

“I encourage high school students to study mechanical

programme (NMDP) from the University of

passenger lifts at Woolworths Atlantic House.

engineering. The industry is diverse and there is potential

Stellenbosch Business School (USB), among others.

to be exposed to many areas within the industry. Don’t “I will never trade my experience for anything”

be afraid to sacrifice a few years to really focus on your

A start in the petroleum industry, and a shift to

The petroleum industry was interesting, and was perhaps the

studies, as this career is really rewarding to well-performing

mechanical engineering

perfect fit for Nwendamutswu at the time as she was young

students. Once you enter the field, you should anticipate

Nwendamutswu started her career as a junior

and eager, and she valued the opportunities that came with

some hard work at the foundation stage.

mechanical engineer in the petroleum industry, for

it, such as allowing her to travel abroad.

Chevron Refinery. She then moved on to work for

“I didn’t follow a traditional path of career progression, but

an international oilfield services company called

“My first sea trip was from Malta, through the Strait of

that has only made my journey more intriguing. Always be

Schlumberger, as a seismic handling specialist

Gibraltar, until we docked in Bergen, Norway. I acquired a

consistent in your efforts, and never give up – even during

involved in offshore oil exploration at the North

Panama passport, visited many countries, and travelled in all

the ‘bad’ days. Remember, no experience is a bad experience,

Sea, Norway.

modes of transport – a mother vessel, speedboat, transit boat,

so take every opportunity to learn and grow.”

Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

27


MOTORING

MOTORING

D

A DRIVING FORCE WE CHAT TO FORD SA ENGINEER DORAH MMEKWA ON WOMEN’S POTENTIAL IN AUTOMOTIVE CAREERS.

orah Mmekwa, manufacturing engineering manager at

quickly, but I’ve learnt to adapt to stressful conditions calmly,

the Ford Silverton Assembly Plant, has some remarkable

and to manage crises. The role also developed my decision-

career achievements throughout her 11 years at the

making skills because the job is all about being decisive

motor company. Science Stars chats to her on her roles within

and taking calculated risks without jeopardising quality,

the industry.

production and safety,” she adds.

Mmekwa began her career at Ford in 2009 as an industrial

Mmekwa’s best experience so far is receiving the opportunity

engineering graduate trainee, after which she was hired as a

to move from one position to another, and seeing herself

process and industrial engineering technician on the Silverton

grow in her career while learning different skills that help

plant’s Trim, Chassis and Final (TCF) line in 2010.

her adapt to any working environment.

She was soon moved into the Quality department, and from

“Being an engineer comes with many challenges, especially

there, her positions migrated from leading a group of quality

when it comes to meeting deadlines and managing one’s

inspectors on the TCF line, to being promoted to quality system

time: a lot has to be done within limited time, so delegation

engineer in 2012. Fast forward to 2019, Mmekwa was selected

and multi-tasking are key to success in a fast-paced

to be acting manufacturing engineering and maintenance

environment,” she says.

manager at the Paint Shop, and was subsequently appointed in a permanent capacity as manufacturing engineering manager, which elevated her to a leadership level within the company. “My experience as a technician was a

“It’s not about gender: all you need to do is believe in your capabilities”

Great businesses thrive on diverse workforces, and as a woman in the STEM field, Mmekwa believes she has acquired both personal skills and career growth, which form part of her success story in the engineering sector.

huge step for me to move from being a contractor to a permanent employee. I enjoyed this role

“My career path so far has been an amazing journey. It’s

because I was eager to learn as much as I could about the

not about gender: all you need to do is believe in your

manufacturing sector and contribute to the team.”

capabilities, potential and skills. Perform at your best as if you are working for your own company and your hard work

Her move to senior process engineer at the Paint Shop taught

depends on it. Be passionate about what you do, be results-

her to learn quickly and to pivot to new challenges, as well as

driven, show commitment and dedication and you will grow

take initiative. Her current role, however, is a challenging one

in your career. With every activity you undertake, give it your

that requires emotional resilience: “I tend to get upset very

all,” Mmekwa says.

By: Zakiyah Ebrahim

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29


HISTORY

HISTORY

I

n 2016, author Margot Lee Shetterly released a book entitled Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race.

The book chronicles the lives of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, three black mathematicians who worked at NASA during one of the most contentious periods in America’s history.

DR CHRISTINE DARDEN... NO LONGER A HIDDEN FIGURE

The best-selling book also told the story of Dr Christine Darden, the first black woman to be promoted to a senior executive level at NASA. Dr Darden started her career in 1967, when she worked as a “human computer” at NASA’S research facility at Langley. For eight years, she crunched numbers, processed data and wrote complex programs. When she became tired of the role, she set her eyes on engineering. It did not escape her notice that only men were appointed as engineers at NASA ... men with the same educational background as her. She was bold when taking up the issue with her supervisor, who promptly transferred her to the engineering team, where she started her work as one of the few female aerospace engineers.

BORN IN 1942, DR DARDEN HAS DEDICATED MORE THAN 40 YEARS OF HER LIFE TO SCIENCE. WE TAKE A LOOK AT HER STEM STORY.

Her first charge as an aerospace engineer was to create a computer program around sonic boom, which is the explosion-like sound caused by an object when it travels through air faster than the speed of sound. This assignment was the start of 25 years of trailblazing work around sonic booms, including the designing of supersonic airplanes and decreasing the levels of sonic boom. Dr Darden wrote more than 50 academic papers in her time, and led a number of research programs within NASA.

By: Nicole Ludolph

In 2019, she won a Congressional Gold Medal from the United States government for her contributions to science. The medal is one of the highest awards that can be bestowed on a civilian in the country. Dr Darden’s contributions to aerospace engineering is incalculable. She is proof that, with passion and perseverance, women can excel in the scientific sphere. In a 2018 profile on her career, she said. “I was able to stand on the shoulders of those women who came before me, and women who came

Image Source: newsroom.unl.edu 30

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after me were able to stand on mine.”

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31


BURSARIES

FUNDING YOUR FUTURE Citrus Academy Bursary What it covers: Tuition fees, prescribed books, stationery, accommodation on campus and research costs (for postgraduate students). Students will also be assisted with finding suitable holiday work. Fields of study: • Plant Pathology • Plant Production • Microbiology • Soil Science • Entomology • Horticulture • Crop Production • Agricultural Production Management • Agricultural Management • Agricultural Economics • Agricultural Engineering • Mechanical Engineering • Industrial Engineering Who can apply? • RSA / Zimbabwean / Swaziland citizens • Matric pass • Entering your 2nd or higher year of study • Studying full-time or part-time at a recognised South African tertiary institute • Strong academic record • Disabled students are welcome to apply • Preference will be given to females and previously disadvantaged students How to apply: Applications must be completed online at citrusacademy.co.za/bursary-fund/apply-online. Submit clear copies of the following supporting documentation with your application: • ID document (certified copy) • Latest tertiary academic results (certified copy) • Latest tertiary exam results (certified copy) • Secondary education results (certified copy) • Motivational essay explaining: why you wish to study further, your background in the citrus industry, how you will give back to the citrus industry and citrus enterprise when you have completed your studies (max 500 words) • Details of your proposed research project (for postgraduate students) Closing date: 15 September 2020 Who to contact: Londiwe Ngcobo (bursary fund administrative assistant) on 031 765 3410 or via email at learnmore@citrusacademy.org.za

Toyota South Africa Motors What it covers: A financial contribution towards tuition fees and workplace experience through vacation work. Fields of study: • Commerce: Business Mathematics and Informatics; Accounting (Non-CA) – degree must include Accounting, Taxation, Auditing and Management Accounting • Engineering: Mechanical, Mechatronics, or Industrial Engineering

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Science: Information Technology (Focus on: Business Analysis & SAP Module, Information Security & Infrastructure); Business Science Analytics

Who can apply? • RSA citizens • Strong academic and leadership potential • Achieved a minimum result of 75% for Mathematics and English in Matric • Achieved an overall tertiary average above 70% How to apply: Apply online at leap.ly/opportunities/279 Closing date: 30 September 2020

Investec CSI Bursary What it covers: Full-cost bursaries will be offered to students who aim to study full-time towards an undergraduate degree in certain fields of study. Fields of study: • Commerce (Economics, Business Economics, Accounting, Investments and Finance) • BCom Informatics • BSc Computer Science • BSc Information Technology • BIT-Bachelors of Information Technology • BIS-Bachelor of Information Science • Business Science • Science and Mathematics • Engineering • Commercial LLB Who can apply? • Applicants currently in Grade 12 and applicants already in possession of a National Senior certificate or those in their first year of university. • Should have obtained at least 50% in all their subjects with a minimum of 70% in Mathematics (not Maths Literacy) and 70% in English. How to apply: Applicants need to attached certified copies of: • South African ID • Latest academic results • Official Matric/NSC results if you have completed Grade 12 • Payslips of your parent(s)/ guardian if they are employed (or letter from employer and sworn statement or tax return statement stating income) • Latest financial statements if your parent(s)/ guardian is self-employed • Sworn affidavits if your parent(s)/ guardian is/are unemployed • Death certificates if your parent(s) is/are deceased • Divorce certificate if your parents are divorced • Sworn statement from one parent if your parents are separated

Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

How to apply: Applications must be completed on StudyTrust’s online Leaply platform. Closing date: 30 September

Western Cape Dept of Agriculture – Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute (EATI) Bursary What it’s about: The EATI provides bachelor degree studies within the Agriculture field, in association with the University of Stellenbosch’s Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences. The EATI provides training, education and skills to learners who intend on specialising in agricultural production training. Fields of study: • BAgric Degree • Diploma in Agriculture • Equine Studies Who can apply? • RSA citizens • Completed Matric or currently in Matric • Studying or intend on studying towards one of the aforementioned Agricultural qualifications • NOT currently in receipt of any other bursary awards with service obligations • Proven financial need • Preference will be given to female students, those with disabilities, and black students How to apply: Submit clear copies of the following documentation along with your completed application form either by hand to: Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute, Muldersvlei Road, Elsenburg or via post to: Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute, Private Bag X1, Elsenburg, 7607: • ID document (certified copy) • Matric latest results, if currently in Matric (certified copy) • Matric certificate, if completed Matric (certified copy) • Full academic record, if currently at tertiary level (certified copy) • Qualification certificates (certified copies) • ID documents of parents/guardians (certified copies) • Proof of income of parents/guardians (three most recent payslips) • If unemployed, sworn statement/proof of SASSA grant income • If deceased, death certificates • Applicant’s three-month bank statement • Three-month bank statements of parents/ guardians Closing date: 30 September 2020 Who to contact: Contact Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute on 021 808 7700 or email study@elsenburg.com


PUZZLES

QUIZ

PICKING YOUR BRAIN

1

Where is Khi Solar One located? A. Keimoes B. Sutherland C. Upington

8

Which town in South Africa is nicknamed Eikestad? A. Grahamstown B. Stellenbosch C. Sutherland

SUDOKU Fill in the 9×9 grid with digits so that each column, row, and 3×3 section contain the numbers between 1 to 9.

4 2

2 3 4 5 6 7

Which is not a branch of engineering? A. Mechanical B. Horticulturist C. Electrical Which of these women did not work at NASA? A. Katherine Johnson B. Mary Jackson C. Dorothy Jackson

9 10

If you have Covid-19 you need to… A. Wear a mask in public B. Self-isolate until you’ve recovered C. Get the vaccine How many plant species are there worldwide? A. 500 000 B. 263 000 C. 390 000 This plant does not treat skin conditions…. A. Turmeric B. Aloe vera C. Buchu The study of plant health is… A. Plantology B. Plant pathology C. Planation

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Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

Botany is the study of… A. Plant reproduction B. Plant life C. Boat engineering

Which is not a known symptom of Covid-19? A. Coughing B. Headache C. Toothache

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Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

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FACTS

ANSWERS

TEN FACTS ON… COVID-19

TEST RESULTS What was your score for the Plant Health issue?

SUDOKU PLANT HEALTH 5 2 28

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Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

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10. A - East Africa

Most people who are infected with the virus will recover but for those with underlying conditions, it’s very dangerous.

6

Early research on the transmission rate of the virus shows that one infected person could pass the virus on to two to four others.

2

There currently is no vaccine or cure for the coronavirus but there are various research projects underway to find one.

7

You’re more likely to get the virus from another person, rather than from touching a surface or package, but it’s important to prevent your exposure as much as possible.

3

Antibiotics wouldn’t help in managing the Covid-19 symptoms as antibiotics only treat bacteria, not viruses.

8

While we know what symptoms are most commonly found in positive cases, new and unusual symptoms have been found, including neurological symptoms.

4

There are many people who test positive but show no symptoms at all. This makes it very important to protect yourself properly, in case an infected person is unaware they’re carrying the virus and spread it unknowingly.

9

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, children and teens have been less affected and they’ve only been mildly affected.

5

The virus particles can live on surfaces after you’ve touched, coughed or sneezed on it, and can then spread to others at a later stage, which is why regular sanitising and washing of hands is crucial.

G

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6. B - Headaches

1

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Your stress levels and mental health affects your health as it weakens your immune system, making it more difficult for your body to fight off infection.

Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

37


DRAFTFCB CAPE TOWN 10003863CT/E

SCIENCE CENTRE

CENTRE OF ATTENTION UNIVERSITY OF LIMPOPO

The centre was initially located in an

The National opening of the

Annelize Potgieter, manager of the centre,

old dilapidated lab at the University

Science Week, co-organised with

told Science Stars.

of Limpopo (UL) and was run by Dr

the Department of Science

Shadrack Mahapa and final-year physics

and Innovation (DSI), which saw

“However, staff members have found

students. After obtaining funding from

the participation of more than

innovative alternative ways to conduct

the Department of Environmental Affairs

10 000 school learners;

business as usual. Via online delivery,

for a biodiversity centre, two academics

Yearly hosting of National

the centre started to provide content

including Professor Martin Potgieter,

Science Week events;

in support of teaching and learning

managed to move the centre into the

Support for schools in the

to primary and high schools. Various

newly established Science Education

National Astroquiz competition

platforms such as Facebook, Twitter,

Centre building in 2012.

since 2013;

and YouTube are employed to deliver

The annual Energy Focus Week,

demonstrations of science experiments,

Some of the interactive activities in the

co-hosted with the Department

assist with exam revisions, deliver science

Science Education Centre include:

of Energy; and

talks, present quizzes and trivia aligned to

The UL Science Centre;

Mintek-Minquiz competition.

the school curriculum, and pre-recorded

The Fablab;

The Herbarium;

The centre also offers teacher workshops,

The Career Guidance Centre; and

ad workshops on basic biotechnology,

Visiting hours:

An Early Childhood Science

nanotechnology and astronomy.

You can take a trip to the centre during

Awareness unit for creches and

pre-primary schools.

science shows, among others,” she said.

the week between 8am and 4pm. The Covid-19 and the UL Science Centre

entry fee is R10 per learner. Contact the

“Covid-19 has, without a doubt, caused

centre at 015 268 3099 and find them

The established centre also has a number

major disruptions in organisations – the

at the University of Limpopo, Turfloop

of notable events under its belt, including:

UL Science Centre is no exception,” Mrs

campus at Q-Block Building, 3rd floor.

38

Science Stars Women In Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

Cut out and place on your wall for easy reference

This science centre has been inspiring young minds to take an interest in science since 1994.

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