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'SciMathUS helped me to believe in my dreams'
Author: Fundeka Ndyoki, SciMathUS Class of 2009
Published: 02/08/2021

Fundeka Ndyoki says SciMathUS helped her to believe in herself and her dreams. Today this alumna, who obtained an MSc Food Science degree from Stellenbosch University, trains and guides staff and external workers towards timely and successful completion of their qualifications and programmes.

I am Fundeka Ndyoki and I was born in the small town of Qumbu in the Eastern Cape. I moved to Cape Town when I was in grade 6 and completed the rest of my primary and secondary education in Mitchell's Plain.

In 2008, my matric year, our Physical Sciences teacher told us about a programme offered by Stellenbosch University to improve your mathematics and science marks in order to qualify for university acceptance. I was the only one who completed the application, because I knew my marks would not be good enough for the civil engineering programme that I wanted to follow. 

What stood out for me of my SciMathUS year was the support system that we had – in the student houses from our mentors (Tshego I'll never forget you sis!) – and in class from the facilitators (Dr Elza Lourens, who is now a dear friend of mine).

SciMathUS helped me to believe in myself and my dreams. I believed that I could do and be anything that I wanted. Even when I would fail a test or get an answer wrong in class — the support from our facilitators really made us believe in ourselves and our capabilities. I was able to double my mathematics marks from 32% to 66% and improve my physical sciences mark by 15% (45 to 60%).

You were forced to dig deep and think! 

We had class from 08:00 to 16:00 on a daily basis. The workload would at times feel heavy, but it taught me what I would be facing when I pursue my degree. I realised that I was in charge of managing my time and that I had to be wise about it.

I am currently working in the food industry (meat industry to be more specific), as a meat market trainer in Gauteng. My job involves training and guiding staff and external workers towards timely and successful completion of qualifications and programmes related to butcheries –  from hygiene, meat cutting and processing –  to programmes where staff are trained to be managers. I really enjoy sharing knowledge and interacting with people. 

I would advise others who find themselves not knowing what to do or where to go, to sign up for SciMathUS –  this programme not only improves your marks but also yourself as an individual.

To my fellow alumni, please support SciMathUS with a donation (no matter how small, or big!).  There are people who took the leap of faith and supported this initiative because they believed in the positive change it could bring. Let us take this opportunity to help bring change to students' lives as it did for us.