Student Affairs
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Open Day: A resounding successhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10578Open Day: A resounding successLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">The Division Student Affairs (DSAf) annual Open Day at Stellenbosch University's Tygerberg campus has once again proven to be a resounding success in providing students with valuable information, fostering engagement, and creating a sense of belonging for all students within the university community. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">On 16 April, DSAf hosted its third Open Day at the campus. The event provides an  opportunity for DSAf staff from the Stellenbosch campus to join their Tygerberg counterparts in interacting with undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as staff from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. The aim is to raise awareness of the comprehensive range of support services, leadership development training, and co-curricular offerings within DSAf that are available to students throughout their academic journey.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The DSAf Open Day initiative was conceptualised by Ms Khairoonisa Foflonker, Manager of DSAf's Tygerberg office, to ensure students have easy access to information and address the diverse needs of students pursuing different degrees.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Increasing the visibility of our co-curricular offerings ensures that students are developed in a holistic manner in line with SU's Graduate Attributes. It also fosters awareness around our support services which includes, but is not limited to, food security, and mental health support, and accessibility awareness," explained Foflonker.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Centre for Student Life and Learning (CSLL) and the Centre for Student Counselling and Development (CSCD) set up stalls at the entrance of the Tygerberg Student Centre and the Hippokrates Residence lawn, which students could visit during their lunch hour.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Students were able to find out more about the work of the centres and the units within each centre and were encouraged to ask any questions they had regarding the support, leadership, and personal development offerings available to them after the university's Welcoming period.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“After the Welcoming period, many students may forget about the services offered by our Centre for Student Life and Learning, and the Centre for Student Counselling and Development. Therefore, having stalls and engaging with registered students in all year groups in a fun and interactive environment is a reminder of the support we offer in order to help our students to live, learn and thrive in a welcoming and inclusive environment," said Foflonker</p><p style="text-align:justify;">To foster greater awareness of student leadership structures and the upcoming national elections, the Tygerberg Students' Representative Council (TSRC) and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa also participated in the Open Day. Even Pokkel, the university mascot, joined in on the fun, which included a live musical performance, and a lucky draw, which students and staff could only enter after visiting all the stalls at the Open Day to obtain information to submit an entry form.<br></p>
Financial Sector Conduct Authority visits Maties to equip students with critical financial skillshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10579Financial Sector Conduct Authority visits Maties to equip students with critical financial skillsLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) recently visited Stellenbosch University (SU) to present an interactive workshop on financial literacy to Maties as part of the FSCA's Consumer Education Department's objective to empower students by bolstering their financial literacy. The Financial Literacy for Tertiary Students workshops, of which there were two, were co-hosted by the Centre for Student Counselling and Development (CSCD) within the Division Student Affairs (DSAf).<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Both workshops were presented in hybrid form to all undergraduate and postgraduate students at all SU's campuses and drew more than 600 students in-person and online.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to the FSCA, “tertiary students encounter a multitude of financial decisions that can significantly impact their futures". Students often become entrapped in debt while studying - be it by accumulating credit card or store card debt - and make uninformed financial decisions as they do not have access to proper financial guidance or knowledge. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This has negative consequences that will impact their future and access to credit for an important investment like a house, especially where graduates have to work with money," said Mr Ephraim Kgosana, the project leader of Consumer Education Relations at the FSCA.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“There is a persistent need," added Kgosana, “to conduct interactive seminars and workshops at tertiary institutions to equip students with practical skills and knowledge that will help them navigate the financial landscape competently."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The workshops focused on matters specifically related to students such as budgeting, saving, managing debt, investing, and planning financially for the future. Students were able to ask specific questions related to issues that they were struggling with or had encountered when dealing with their personal finances. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It is important for students to gain financial literacy at this stage as they are already managing funding they receive through bursaries, or via NSFAS, and must know how to balance everyday expenses which before would have been handled by a parent or guardian throughout their years of study," said Kgosana.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Lyndwill Clarke, the Head of Department: Consumer Education at the FSCA, Lyndon Johnson from the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, specifically the office of Consumer Protection, and Selina Maketa from the Credit Bureau Association also addressed students. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Since its first workshop, the FSCA initiative has taken a collaborative approach with key stakeholders invited to participate at institutions. These partners include the National Credit Regulator (NCR), Credit Bureau Association (CBA), and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA). This has ensured that students gain access to organisations focused on wide-ranging financial matters, and get up-to-date information too. During the workshops at SU, students were able to obtain their recent credit record for free and receive advice on improving it from representatives of the credit bureau Experian.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Kgosana said that the Financial Literacy for Tertiary Students initiative will continue to evolve according to students changing needs, with topics such as wealth creation, entrepreneurship and financial planning for the future becoming more important to students. SU was one of eight universities that the FSCA visited in 2024. The others included the North-West University, Rhodes University, University of Limpopo, University of Johannesburg, University of Free State, University of KwaZulu Natal, and Sefako Makgatho University in the North-West.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Through constant interaction and feedback sessions based on the Monitoring and Evaluation processes, we continue to witness first-hand the positive impact of financial literacy on students' lives such as improved budgeting skills and heightened awareness of financial pitfalls."<br></p>
SU’s Faculty of Science awards four joint international degreeshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10534SU’s Faculty of Science awards four joint international degreesWiida Fourie-Basson (Media: Faculty of Science)<p>​​Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Science this week awarded four joint PhD degrees with universities in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy in the fields of chemistry, physics, microbiology, and zoology.<br></p><p>A joint degree means that the students were co-supervised by a researcher from both universities, spending time at each institution to work on their research. Based on an agreement between the two universities, the degree is then awarded by both institutions.</p><p>Dr Dina Miora was awarded a PhD in physics from SU and the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany; Dr Wessel Myburgh a PhD in microbiology from SU and the University of Padova, Italy; Dr Gestél Kuyler a PhD in polymer science and molecular pharmacology from SU and Coventry University in the United Kingdom; and Dr Laurie Araspin a PhD in Botany and Zoology from SU and the <em>Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle</em> (MNHN) in France.</p><p>Altogether 37 PhD, 75 MSc, and nine BScHonours degrees were awarded at the graduation ceremony on 26 March 2024 at the Coetzenburg Centre in Stellenbosch.<br></p><p>Myburgh says his research benefited immensely from the international exposure: “The expertise of the two groups complemented each other perfectly. In my case, Prof. Lorenzo Favaro's research group has experience in converting waste to energy using microbial technologies based on anaerobic digestion. They also have a wealth of knowledge in bioplastic production. Both these fields were lacking in our group. We, on the other hand, have a very strong background in recombinant yeast expression systems for fungal hydrolase production. I would not have been able to make so much progress in my PhD if it was done at either of the institutions alone."</p><p>Kuyler says her experience was both transformative and challenging: “Pursuing a dual-award PhD with the goal of bridging the disciplines of Polymer Science and Molecular Pharmacology was a daunting task, especially considering my limited prior knowledge in the latter. I am immensely thankful for this invaluable opportunity that has enabled me to expand my knowledge and develop into a versatile, multidisciplinary scientist."</p><p>Araspin's study leader, Prof. John Measey, says the joint degree came about as an extension of an ongoing collaboration between himself and Dr Anthony Harrell at the MNHN in France: “We were interested in finding out extreme differences between populations of frogs that live natively in South Africa and invasive populations in France. The biggest advantage was certainly for the student to have spent time in both countries, working on a topic important to both countries." Measey is a senior researcher at the Centre for Invasion Biology at SU.</p><p>Miora, who is also an alumnus of the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar, says the experience in Germany gave her the opportunity to work in an advanced and fully equipped laboratory: “It was rather quick to fix any work-related problems given the extensive human and materials resources at hand. At SU, each student project is quite different, even though we are all working in photonics. While it takes longer to solve an issue, because only my supervisor fully understands the problem, it also provides us with valuable skills to solve most problems by ourselves. In the end, being able to both work in a team and independently are valuable career skills," she says.</p><p>Despite having to cope with new languages and cultures, as well as the significant additional administrative burden of navigating the systems and requirements of another university, the students agree that it was a worthwhile and life-changing experience. </p><p>Prof. Louise Warnich, Dean of the Faculty of Science at SU, says international partnerships and joint degrees are very important for a research-intensive faculty: “It strengthens our ability to tackle important issues by joining forces with international specialists. It also offers an opportunity for our PhD students to become part of international networks early in their careers, and to gain access to specialist knowledge and facilities."</p><p>Both Kuyler and Myburgh's research also led to the registration of international patents and the establishment of spin-out companies <a href="https://nanosene.com/">Nanosene</a> and <a href="https://www.urobobiotech.com/">Urobo Biotech</a>. Miora is currently a postdoctoral fellow and image analyst at the Medical Research Council (MRC) <a href="https://www2.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/">Laboratory of Molecular Biology</a> (LMB) in Cambridge, England.<br></p><p>On the photo above, from left to right, Dr Gestél Kuyler, Dr Wessel Myburgh, and Dr Dina Miora. <em>Pho</em><em>to: Stefan Els</em><br></p><p>​<br></p>
From Madagascar to the world with a PhD in physicshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10530From Madagascar to the world with a PhD in physicsWiida Fourie-Basson (Media: Faculty of Science)<p>​​​Hailing from a rural village in Madagascar, Dr Dina Miora's academic journey has taken her to South Africa and Germany and today she is employed as a postdoctoral scientist and image analyst at the Medical Research Council (MRC) <a href="https://www2.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/">Laboratory of Molecular Biology</a> (LMB) in Cambridge, England.</p><p>When she walks over the stage to be capped with a PhD in Physics from Stellenbosch University (SU) and the Friedrich-Schiller University Jena during SU's March graduation ceremony, she has literally and figuratively navigated a long journey marked by overcoming more than one cultural and language barrier, as well as the occasional bouts of home sickness. </p><p>But despite these challenges, during her postgraduate studies she also established a non-profit organisation called <a href="https://www.itatra.org/about-the-organisation">Itatra</a> with the aim of providing “a better and equal education for all" in Madagascar. According to recent surveys, the number of high school learners majoring in physics, chemistry, and mathematics in Madagascar have dropped from 11% to only 5% between 2007 and 2017. Moreover, the field of optics, her speciality, is not offered at higher education institutions or only offered as a minor subject. 'Itatra' is the Malagasy word for expansion.</p><p>In 2022 she organised a two-week outreach initiative called “Vision" to three high schools in rural Madagascar with the goal of helping learners to see and understand the world through a lens. Supported by funding from <a href="https://spie.org/#_=_">SPIE</a> (the international society for optics and photonics) learners also received diffraction glasses, as well as fun activities with modular optics <a href="https://openuc2.com/line-discovery/">educational kits</a> from <a href="https://openuc2.com/">OpenUC2</a>. In 2023 she again reached out to the same schools with a <a href="https://www.itatra.org/post/idl-photo-contest-with-foldscope">photo contest</a> to celebrate the International Day of Light. </p><p><strong>From Madagascar to South Africa and the world</strong></p><p>Dina grew up in the rural village Fenoarivo-Be, about 180km from the capital Antananarivo, from where she went on to study mathematics at the University of Antananarivo.</p><p>A lecturer introduced her to the opportunities offered by the <a href="https://aims.ac.za/">African Institute for Mathematical Sciences</a> (AIMS) in Muizenberg, South Africa. AIMS is a pan-African network of Centres of Excellence for postgraduate training in the mathematical sciences. </p><p>Participating in AIMS' structured master's programme in 2016, she was introduced to laser physics when she chose to pursue a physics-related project to localise single fluorescent molecules moving in time in noisy images. remove noise from microscopic images. Under the guidance of her study leaders, emeritus professor Erich Rohwer and Dr Gurthwin Bosman at SU's <a href="https://physics.sun.ac.za/">Department of Physics</a>, she then obtained an AIMS/DAAD bursary to pursue an MSc in laser physics. Her project focused on the development of microscopical techniques to determine the 3D position and orientation of single molecules.  </p><p>During this time, she met Prof. Rainer Heintzman, head of the <a href="https://www.leibniz-ipht.de/en/departments/microscopy/">Department of Microscopy</a> at the Leibnitz Institute of Photonic Technology in Germany, during a workshop of the <a href="https://www.csir.co.za/african-laser-centre">African Laser Centre</a>. According to Dr Bosman, he was so impressed with her work that they started talking about a possible cotutelle for her PhD – this is when a student is jointly enrolled at two universities and spends time at each university. </p><p>At the time, Dina says, the exposure was intense: “Prof. Heintzman was so knowledgeable, and I felt as if I knew nothing. At the same time the meeting made me gain a totally new perspective of the importance of my research."</p><p>For her PhD research, Dina developed new techniques to optimise the modelling of optical systems in order to improve the quality of microscopic images. To achieve that, one requires simulation techniques that are sensitive to images that may be distorted.</p><p>Dr Bosman explains: “An image is like a painting, and if one can determine well enough the width and thickness of the paint brush, then you can mathematically eliminate the impact of finite width and thickness and thereby retrieve a high quality and more accurate painting."</p><p>For her work at the MRC's Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge, she is involved with both research and hands-on projects: “We are currently working with a research group at the University of Cambridge that has developed a software code for tracking single molecules. My task now is to test the efficiency and accuracy of their software," she explains.</p><p>As image analyst, she also handles requests from biologists about image processing and analysis: “They take images of their samples with microscopes, and our task is to help them extract the information that they need from these images." </p><p>For overcoming the language barrier in her field of research, Dina says it helped to avoid Google translate as much as possible: “With research and studies, the language is quite standardised. I found it more effective in the long run to look for the definition of a difficult word in the same language, rather than falling back on Google translate." </p><p>Verbal communication in social situations was, however, a different matter: “I had to learn to be more observant and to understand the context and the culture. It really helped being in a community of people with similar interests and values because it provided a safe zone to practice the new language and immerse yourself in another culture."</p><p>She plans to continue her <a href="https://www.itatra.org/">outreach activities</a> to promote physics, chemistry, and optics at high schools in Madagascar: “I believe that education plays an important role in the development of my country. I will continue my outreach activities wherever in the world I find myself. If I happen to stay outside of Africa, I will like it if I can come back from time to time to give training on image processing and analysis," she concludes.</p><p><strong>On the photo above: </strong>Dr Dina Miora at the custom-built microscope set-up in the Department of Physics at Stellenbosch University. <em>Photo: Stefan Els</em></p><p><br></p>
​ Motsepe Foundation donates R800 000 to SRC-driven initiatives http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10518​ Motsepe Foundation donates R800 000 to SRC-driven initiatives Lynne Ripppenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">​The Students' Representative Council (SRC) of Stellenbosch University (SU) recently received a donation of R800 000 from the Motsepe Foundation to spend on SRC-driven initiatives that benefit students. The cheque handover took place at an event held in Sandton in Johannesburg.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The SU SRC was one of a number of student governance structures at 26 universities across South Africa to benefit from the overall donation of R30 million made by the Foundation.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">SRC President Phiwokuhle Qabaka, and Thulani Hlatshwayo, Coordinator: Student Governance at SU, received the cheque from Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, CEO and Co-Founder of the Motsepe Foundation, and Dr Rejoice Simelane, Executive Director at Ubuntu-Botho Investments and non-executive Director of African Rainbow Capital Proprietary Limited. Hlatshwayo works in the Unit for Student Governance in the Centre for Student Life and Learning, which forms part of the Division Student Affairs (DSAf).<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The donations form part of several financial commitments the Foundation has made to SRC-driven initiatives focused on student debt, student mental wellness, and gender equality efforts and women's wellbeing – all issues that align with the Foundation's work. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In an invite issued to the SU SRC by Melissa Anthony, Manager: Education and Projects at the Motsepe Foundation, the Foundation believes that SRCs play “an important role in ensuring a balance between students' academic performance and their social support".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Whilst the Motsepe Foundation has initiated several interventions to support the access, throughput and wellbeing of our bursary recipients, we believe that supporting student-led initiatives adds value to the various interventions deployed by diverse stakeholders," wrote Anthony.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>​Photo: SU's SRC President (third from the left), Phiwokuhle Qabaka, and Thulani Hlatswayo (far right), Coordinator: Student Governance in the Unit for Student Governance, received a cheque donation of R800 000 from Dr Rejoice Simelane (far left), Executive Director at Ubuntu-Botho Investments and non-executive Director of African Rainbow Capital Proprietary Limited, and Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, CEO and Co-Founder of the Motsepe Foundation.</em></p>
Multilingualism enriches students' educational experience – Prof Deresh Ramjugernathhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10466Multilingualism enriches students' educational experience – Prof Deresh RamjugernathDeresh Ramjugernath<p>​By championing multilingualism in both academic and social spaces, we not only enrich the educational experience for our students but also prepare them to thrive in an increasingly interconnected and diverse world. This is the view of Prof Deresh Ramjugernath (Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning) in an opinion piece for <em>The </em><em>Star </em>in celebration of International Mother Language Day on 21 February.</p><ul><li>Read the article below or click <a href="https://storage.googleapis.com/marketiq/134D75F/LZU-1708660958913_134DAB6.pdf"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>for the piece as published.</li></ul><p><strong>Deresh Ramjugernath*</strong><br></p><p>In an increasingly interconnected world, where globalisation often threatens to overshadow individual cultures and languages, the celebration of <a href="https://www.unesco.org/en/days/mother-language#:~:text=2024%20celebrations%2cnot%20master%20basic%20literacy%20skills."><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">International Mother Language Day</strong></a> on 21 February serves as a powerful reminder of the intrinsic value of linguistic diversity. In addition, the ability to communicate and collaborate across cultures and languages has become a vital skill.</p><p>UNESCO, an organisation deeply invested in the preservation of cultural and linguistic diversity, champions the notion that societies thrive when they embrace and celebrate their linguistic heritage. It is through language that traditions are passed down from generation to generation, enriching our collective understanding of the world and fostering tolerance and respect for others. Yet, linguistic diversity is increasingly under threat as more and more languages face the risk of extinction.<br></p><p>According to recent stats shared by <a href="https://www.unesco.org/en/days/mother-language#:~:text=2024%20celebrations&text=Mother%20tongue%20education%20supports%20learning%2ckey%20component%20of%20quality%20learning."><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">UNESCO</strong></a>, globally, a staggering 40 percent of the global population lacks access to education in a language they speak or understand. This statistic is a stark reminder of the urgent need to prioritise multilingual education, particularly in early schooling, to ensure that all individuals have the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive in their own linguistic contexts. Mother tongue education not only supports learning and literacy, but also lays the foundation for the acquisition of additional languages, fostering a culture of lifelong learning and intergenerational knowledge transfer.</p><p>It is, therefore, fitting that the theme of this year's International Mother Language Day is, "Multilingual education is a pillar of intergenerational learning," because it speaks to the transformative power of language in shaping the educational landscape, especially the higher education sector.  This is particularly relevant in a country like South Africa where some students arrive at university without the language skills required to be successful at this level. <br></p><p>At Stellenbosch University, we are committed to providing our students with opportunities to engage with multilingualism both inside and outside the classroom. We recognise that multilingualism isn't just a concept; it's a vibrant tapestry woven into the fabric of our identity and a cornerstone of our commitment to fostering inclusive academic and social practices. That is why we take multilingual education seriously. Multilingualism, which is the coexistence of multiple languages, not only enriches our understanding of different cultures but also enhances cognitive abilities, problem-solving skills, and adaptability. <br></p><p>Over the past few weeks, our Language Centre has spearheaded initiatives aimed at deepening our engagement with multilingualism. Through pre-Welcoming workshops and collaborative efforts with student leaders, we have created spaces where language serves as a bridge rather than a barrier, fostering an environment where every voice is heard and valued.<br></p><p>Our commitment to multilingualism extends beyond social interactions; it permeates into the academic realm as well. Collaborative projects such as the development of a comprehensive slide pack on multilingualism and initiatives like the National Writing Centres Competition underscore our dedication to nurturing linguistic talent and promoting cross-cultural exchange.<br></p><p>Promoting multilingualism holds immense importance both socially and academically. Firstly, it fosters cultural understanding and respect by facilitating communication among diverse linguistic and cultural groups, nurturing a sense of global citizenship. Academically, it ensures inclusivity and equal access to education by accommodating students whose first language may differ from the dominant instructional language. <br></p><p>Moreover, multilingualism offers cognitive benefits like improved problem-solving, creativity, and multitasking skills, enhancing academic performance and mental agility. Professionally, proficiency in multiple languages opens up opportunities in the global job market, allowing individuals to communicate effectively across borders. Additionally, it plays a crucial role in preserving linguistic diversity, vital for maintaining cultural heritage and identity. <br></p><p>Multilingualism also strengthens communication skills, enabling effective interaction in various contexts, both socially and academically. Furthermore, it promotes tolerance, empathy, and global citizenship by exposing individuals to different languages and cultures, fostering a broader perspective on global issues. Overall, promoting multilingualism enriches lives, builds stronger communities, and contributes to a more interconnected and inclusive society.<br></p><p>As we celebrate our successes, it's important to acknowledge the work that lies ahead. We must continue to expand our efforts to provide resources and support for multilingual education, ensuring that linguistic diversity thrives at every level of our institution. By championing multilingualism in both academic and social spaces, we not only enrich the educational experience for our students but also prepare them to thrive in an increasingly interconnected and diverse world.<br></p><p>Ultimately, embracing multilingualism is about more than just speaking different languages; it's about fostering understanding, empathy, and connection across cultural divides. As we commemorate International Mother Language Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to celebrating the richness of linguistic diversity that defines us as a university community. Together, let us continue to build a future where every voice is heard, respected, and valued.<br></p><p><strong>*Professor Deresh Ramjugernath is Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning at Stellenbosch University.​</strong></p><p>​<br></p>
Stellenbosch University’s Gradlinc show exceptional growth in first yearhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10454Stellenbosch University’s Gradlinc show exceptional growth in first yearPetro Mostert<p>​Stellenbosch University's startup company Gradlinc — an innovative graduate career development platform — signed up more than 4 200 students and 250 companies in just over one year.<br></p><p>This innovative platform that connects employers, graduates, and universities country-wide was launched at the beginning of SU's graduation week on 5 December 2022. Gradlinc is a must-needed solution to connect employers, graduates, and universities on a national cloud-based platform. The platform's unique matching algorithm ensures that employers' job requirements match very precisely with the graduates' skillset. Stellenbosch University's innovation division, Innovus, funded this initiative.</p><p>As a response to the critical need to bridge graduates with opportunities during their studies and as fresh graduates, the Gradlinc journey began with the recognition that many tertiary institutions faced similar graduate employment challenges, with only a handful having dedicated job portals for students. In a bold move, Gradlinc decided to build a national platform to remove barriers for all students.</p><p>The platform witnesses daily sign-ups from university students nationwide, representing 23 of the 26 public universities, with ongoing efforts to onboard students from private universities and institutions. Most sign-ups are undergraduate students, followed by Honours, Masters and Doctoral students. Altogether, 20 percent of students studied degrees in Arts and social sciences, followed by BSc Human Life Sciences, BSc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, LLB, International Studies, Management Sciences, and Financial Accounting, with Engineering Science and Medical Sciences not far behind.</p><p>A recent testimonial read: “As an aspiring BSc Human Life Sciences graduate, job hunting was a frequent and often very stressful activity. Not only did Gradlinc help me with the job searching process, but it was also such a simple and user-friendly website. The platform allows companies to post jobs and internships available to recent graduates, which is extremely helpful. Gradlinc allowed for a quick and easy application process and provided the utmost assistance in finding the right job for me."</p><p>“The story of Gradlinc is one of developing African solutions for African problems, bringing the solution to those who can benefit. It's a testament to the collective effort required to address graduate employment in South Africa," said Lizane Füzy, General Manager of Gradlinc.</p><p><strong>Enhancing a graduate's employability</strong></p><p>Gradlinc's latest addition is the Gradlinc Employability Award, a program, designed to acknowledge and reward activities like volunteer work and workshop attendance, and allows students to earn points reflected as badges on their profiles, making it easier for employers to recognise employable talent. “With plans to extend this program to schools in 2024, Gradlinc is actively contributing to enhancing students' employability from an early stage and facilitating a strong foundation to build successful careers," said Füzy.</p><p>In January this year, Gradlinc initiated a modern online job shadowing experience through a weekly webinar series titled "<em>A day in the life</em>," where Industry professionals join live sessions and share their insights into various careers. The webinars, open to students and school pupils, feature live Q&A sessions and can be viewed afterward on Gradlinc's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/%40gradlinc/streams">YouTube</a> channel.</p><p>Füzy says a key differentiator for Gradlinc is their commitment to advocate for the youth and giving graduates a voice, as one student remarked: “usually the job criteria stipulates that an applicant needs experience". But what if you have just graduated? In cases like these, Gradlinc's algorithm assists graduate employers in attracting employable candidates, even without experience. Students don't lose access to the platform after graduation as they have lifelong access. This commitment ensures a sustained connection between academia and professional life. Gradlinc also offers diverse opportunities, including part-time roles, full-time positions, holiday work, and internships, creating a comprehensive platform for career development.</p><p>In a recent accolade, Gradlinc was one of the top ten finalists in the AfricaIgnite Pitch Competition. The competition, held in collaboration with the Start-up World Cup powered by Pegasus, was held at the Africa Tech Festival between 14 and 16 November 2023. “This recognition underscores Gradlinc's commitment to creating sustainable solutions for the youth and fostering a thriving entrepreneurial landscape in Africa," says Füzy</p><p> </p><p>Visit <a href="https://gradlinc.co.za/">Gradlinc</a> for more information and follow Gradlinc on social media:</p><p>Instagram: gradlinc_sa </p><p>Facebook: gradlincSA </p><p>LinkedIn: gradlinc</p><p>X: gradlinc_sa </p><p>YouTube: @gradlinc<br></p><p><br></p>
New Maties Coffee Hub: a fusion of tradition, innovation, and local entrepreneurshiphttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10455New Maties Coffee Hub: a fusion of tradition, innovation, and local entrepreneurshipPetro Mostert<p>​In a move that celebrates both tradition and innovation, Stellenbosch University's (SU) iconic Maties Shop will expand its offerings to include a unique coffee experience by opening the first Maties Coffee Hub on 1 March 2024, located inside the Matie Shop in the Neelsie. This exciting venture will enrich the vibrant campus culture and exemplifies the University's commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and community engagement.<br></p><p>At the heart of this endeavour is a partnership with Mhlengi Ngcobo, a former Matie and esteemed local entrepreneur behind CoffeeMM in the Co-create Hub opposite the Adam Small Theatre complex of SU. Ngcobo's deep roots within the University community and his passion for coffee and business acumen make him the perfect collaborator for this venture.</p><p>CoffeeMM was founded in 2017 as a local coffee company that provides high-quality, ethically sourced coffee beans and products to the Stellenbosch community and surrounds.</p><p>The partnership between CoffeeMM and Maties Coffee Hub emerged from a collaboration, transitioning from a supplier to a strategic partnership motivated by their shared values of sustainability and empowerment. By aligning with an institution deeply rooted in the Stellenbosch community, Ngcobo saw an opportunity to amplify the impact of his entrepreneurial endeavours while contributing to SU's holistic development and entrepreneurial spirit mission.</p><p>“By partnering with local businesses, we are enhancing the campus experience and catalysing economic development within the local region. This collaboration exemplifies our commitment to driving positive change and creating meaningful opportunities for our students and campus community", says Hein Swanepoel, Senior Director, Suncom (a division of Innovus). Beyond serving as a campus hotspot, the Maties Coffee Hub aims to foster meaningful connections and relationships within the Stellenbosch community, bridging the gap between students, faculty, and local businesses.</p><p>In essence, this collaboration exemplifies the positive effects of commercialisation within a university setting. It underscores Stellenbosch University's role as an enabler of entrepreneurial opportunities, showcasing the potential for synergy between academia and commerce in driving economic growth and social impact.</p><p>As the Maties Coffee Hub integrates into campus life, it sends a powerful message to the SU community and the broader public. It embodies a commitment to excellence, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and community empowerment—a testament to the University's enduring legacy and dedication to shaping a brighter future for future generations.</p><p><strong>More about Innovus</strong></p><p>Innovus is a division of Stellenbosch University responsible for technology transfer, entrepreneurial support and development, and innovation. The Technology Transfer Office manages the University's innovation and intellectual property portfolio through seeking relevant intellectual protection for the university's intellectual property portfolio, such as patenting, trademark, design, and other forms of protection. The team is also responsible for the management of the portfolio and the commercialisation of innovation through licensing and the formation of spin-out companies.<br></p><p>For regular updates and opening specials, follow us on Facebook and Instagram  </p><p>For more information, please contact:</p><p>Gary Muizenheimer:</p><p>garym@sun.ac.za<br></p><p>​<br></p>
International Olympic Committee awards Olympic Studies Research Centre to Stellenbosch University http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10399International Olympic Committee awards Olympic Studies Research Centre to Stellenbosch University Kimara Singh<p></p><p>2023 has continued to be a busy and impactful year for Maties Sport. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently approved and awarded Maties Sport the right to host an Olympic Studies Research Centre (OSRC). OSRCs are the brainchild of the IOC and form an integral part of the academic and research integrity of the Olympic Movement.</p><p>The newly formed Centre – the South African Centre for Olympic Studies and Social Impact (SACOSSI) – is only the second of its kind in the country and Africa, and one of 68 around the world. As the name of the Centre indicates, all output shall be aligned to meaningful impact.</p><p>SACOSSI will be led by one of SU's <a href="https://sport.sun.ac.za/centre-for-sport-leadership/">Centre for Sport Leadership's</a> (CSL) Research Fellows, who also established the first Olympic Studies Centre in Africa in 2014 at the University of Johannesburg – Professor Cora Burnett – as Director (from 1 January 2024) and the CSL's Head – Dr Nana Adom-Aboagye, will be its Deputy Director.</p><p>SACOSSI will aim to act as a leading research and academic entity in Africa and engage in multi-stakeholder collaboration for conducting impactful and engaged education, training, and research to inform policy development, strategic decision-making and knowledge production related to Olympic Studies and Sport for Development and Peace at all levels.</p><p>This mission will be supported by the 21 (3 local and 18 international) internationally recognized and highly productive Research Fellows that the CSL has been able to appoint during the year.</p><p>“The depth of scholarship among the Research Fellows translates to about 1,600 publications between them, which brings them to be colloquially named 'The Dream Team'," says Nana Adom-Aboagye. “The CSL and SACOSSI have indeed been able to attract a 'dream team' of scholars whose areas of expertise range from sport history, gender and sport, sport governance to cognition and e-sport, but to name a few areas of specialisation."</p><p>The 21 Research Fellows represent 11 countries, spread across five (5) continents and will be affiliated with both the CSL and SACOSSI. The Fellows represent the following institutions:</p><p>·       Stellenbosch University (Prof Albert Grundlingh, Prof Cora Burnett & Dr Michele van Rooyen)</p><p>·       University of Technology Sydney, Australia (Prof Nico Schulenkorf)</p><p>·       Victoria University, Australia (Prof Ramon Spaaij)</p><p>·       Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, Brazil (Prof Billy Graeff)</p><p>·       University of Calgary, Canada (Dr Araba Chintoh)</p><p>·       Palacky University, Czechia (Prof Simona Safarikova)</p><p>·       Brunel University London, England (Professor Vassil Girginov)</p><p>·       Durham University, England (Prof Iain Lindsey)</p><p>·       Loughborough University, England (Prof Richard Giulianotti)</p><p>·       Loughborough University London, England (Dr Holly Collison)</p><p>·       Université de Toulon, France (Professor Arnaud Richard)</p><p>·       University of Limerick, Ireland (Prof Adam Toth, Dr Ian Sherwin & Prof Mark Campbell)</p><p>·       Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand (Prof Lesley Ferkins)</p><p>·       University of Otago, New Zealand (Prof Sally Shaw)</p><p>·       University of Waikato, New Zealand (Prof Holly Thorpe)</p><p>·       The University of Edinburgh, Scotland (Dr Christine Nash)</p><p>·       Adelphi University, USA (Prof Meredith Whitley)</p><p>“We are proud to be associated with such high-caliber individuals and welcome them to SACOSSI!" says Burnett<br><br></p><p>​<br></p>
Long journey from BSc ECP student to PhD in Chemistry http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10375Long journey from BSc ECP student to PhD in Chemistry Wiida Basson (Media: Faculty of Science)<p></p><p style="text-align:justify;">It must have been his late mother's incredibly tasty cheese sauce that made him fall in love with chemistry. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I always wanted to know how she made it, with which ingredients, and in what order! I think that is where my interest in chemistry first started," recalls Emile Maggott. This former learner from <a href="https://bishoplavishigh.co.za/">Bishop Lavis High School</a> in Cape Town will be walking over the stage at Stellenbosch University's December graduation ceremony to be capped with a PhD in Chemistry.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">His journey, however, has been rougher than most.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Growing up in a neighbourhood that is mostly known to the outside world for unemployment, poverty, and gangsterism, he had to make a deliberate choice to maintain a positive mind set – a belief that one day he would be able to rise out of the historically-imposed circumstances.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“My brother and I got this mind set from my mother. She was a factory worker, and she was very strict. And even though my mother could not spoil me with money and other fancy things, I had a good upbringing. There was lots of love in our household and always a plate of food waiting in the oven when I returned from the lab, sometimes close to midnight," he recounts.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Emile's journey started when he realised that his marks were not good enough to study medicine. “Even though I was strong in mathematics and physical sciences, I was lacking in other subjects. I thought of engineering, but then the Science Faculty's academic coordinator, Wilma Wagener, convinced me to enter a BSc <a href="/english/welcome/Pages/Extended-degree-programmes.aspx">Extended Curriculum Programme</a> (ECP) in the Faculty of Science," he explains.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In hindsight, that was one of the best decisions I could have made," he adds.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“There is a huge gap between matric and first year at university. At school we were spoon fed, but already in the first two weeks of class at university I realised that I would either have to swim or sink! I very quickly had to learn how to figure things out for myself. I believe that, even though it took me one year longer to complete the BSc-degree, the EDP provided me with a solid foundation to manage and succeed in my studies."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This propensity to “figure things out for himself" has continued into his approach to his doctoral research: “I am motivated by sitting down and really figuring things out. Some people simply jump to the next topic when they are struggling, which is probably easy to do. I would rather make mistakes and learn from it than give up."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, sometimes even someone with a positive mind set had to learn the hard way, especially from an old-school supervisor such as <a href="https://www0.sun.ac.za/chemistry/applications-of-organometallic-complexes/">Prof. Selwyn Mapolie</a> from the <a href="https://www0.sun.ac.za/chemistry/">Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science</a>. Emile recounts one incident from his MSc studies when Prof. Mapolie very sternly sent him back to the lab bench to go and figure things out, because that is what researchers do.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“During one of our progress meetings, I made the mistake of saying 'I don't know'. He replied and said that a researcher cannot not know what he is doing. 'You should be asking yourself why all the time and go and figure it out', he said!"</p><p style="text-align:justify;">A stained and very dirty blue lab coat bears testimony to this attitude. The dark blue stains, for example, come from the very first experiment which involved a Schiff-base reaction and resulted in the spattering of the reactants which was due to a concentration effect. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Life threw another curve ball at him when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Overnight, postgraduate students' access to laboratories was first restricted and later strictly regulated. He often worked through the night, sometimes even catching a quick nap in between, to perform all the experiments required for his research. There was no time to waste, as funding was only available for four years.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">But the biggest setback came late in 2022 on his birthday when his mother, the late Mrs Ursula Maggott, died of diabetes-related complications. He then had to learn how to deal with bouts of depression, sometimes by just going into the lab and doing one task for the day, other times by exercising and regularly walking his two German Shepard dogs.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Fortunately, though, he did learn the name of the secret ingredient that made his mother's cheese sauce stand out from all others, as well as how to prepare the best sweet and sour lentil curry in the Western Cape.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">As far as his research is concerned, he is in the process of finalising a second research article to be published from his doctoral dissertation and has applied for a Consolidoc position in the department to finalise another two research articles. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">In his research, Dr Maggott succeeded in identifying a range of recyclable catalysts (from a potential group of 35 candidates). These materials were used as catalyst precursors in oxidative transformations in which the reaction can be fine-tuned by converting biomass substrates (waste materials) into value-added products. The high value oxygenates is particularly useful in the pharmaceutical, perfume, flavourant, cosmetic and biofuel industry. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The research is novel, firstly, because it is the first time that these type of catalyst systems have been used in the proposed applications. Secondly, during the synthetic process we incorporate cheap and earth-abundant metals which ultimately contributes to a greener society. And thirdly, the overall process is fine-tuned, which means that we can selectively produce the desired compound (the more valuable product). This in essence makes the process greener and more sustainable since it reduces downstream separation processes," he explains.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Having presented papers at international conferences in Spain, Italy, and Germany, he is eager to spread his wings again: “There is still a lot of things to figure out!", he concludes.<br></p><p>​<br></p>