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Irshaad's journey to success's journey to successDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p>Irshaad Ahmad Parker's participation in the Stellenbosch University SciMathUS university preparation programme changed his life and taught him this profound life lesson: where you start out does not necessarily dictate where you will end up.<br></p><p>The SciMathUS programme gives high school learners who have already passed Grade 12 but do not qualify for higher education selection, a second opportunity to improve their National Senior Certificate results in mathematics, physical sciences and accounting. This will enable them to re-apply for university programmes.<br></p><p>Irshaad, who hails from the Cape Flats suburb of Grassy Park, explains: “The community I grew up in is not very supportive of youngsters pursuing their studies and one can easily get caught up in the elements the area is plagued with. But by equipping me with qualities such as punctuality and attention to detail, the SciMathUS programme made me realise that I am responsible for my own success. It helped me to unlearn the ingrained but mistaken belief that the circumstances I grew up in would determine where I would end up. This was a hard lesson to learn, but I am glad I did because now I believe I can accomplish anything I set my mind to."</p><p>He has no qualms about advising others to consider the SciMathUS programme.<br></p><p>“The programme gives you an opportunity to improve your marks while enjoying the full-on student experience. This offers a great advantage if you decide to study at Stellenbosch. Furthermore, many matriculants rarely ever know what they'd like to pursue as a career nor what their interests are. SciMathUS offers you the opportunity to find your niche, and what you'd like to pursue academically."<br></p><p>Irshaad says SciMathUS helped him to find his academic niche and the discipline to be successful in it.<br></p><p>“The programme helped me to realise that I have a passion for Biology, and after improving my math and physics marks, I enrolled for a BSc in Human Life Sciences at SU in 2017. This option was a great way to enter the sciences and helped to quench my thirst for understanding biological phenomena. Thereafter I pursued an honours degree in Biochemistry. This was a sensible option as Biochemistry offers a great variety of fields to explore."<br></p><p>During that time, he also distinguished himself in other areas, thereby exemplifying the programme's philosophy of delivering well-rounded, capable students and individuals.<br></p><p>“During my undergraduate years, from 2017 to 2020, I stayed in Helderberg Men's Residence. There I was a mentor for two years, chairperson of a critical discussion forum and served on the first year committee. In addition, I served on the Natural Sciences Committee as a social representative in 2020. I was class representative for numerous Biochemistry modules (214, 315, 345). At the end of my undergraduate studies, I completed my degree with a 73% average, securing me a scholarship for my honours year. During my honours year I lived at Huis De Villiers and received an award for being a section representative. I successfully completed my honours year, graduating cum laude. All of this was completed while working part-time for an international company (, launching a business (Local Cape Roots), developing another (Sprout Smart) and working on a contract basis as a project manager at family business Churchill."<br></p><p>In December 2023, Irshaad obtained his master's degree in biomedical engineering cum laude, also at SU. <br></p><p>“Upon the completion of my BSc Hons, I had set my sights on pursuing an MEngSc in Biomedical Engineering. This choice followed deep contemplation of future career prospects and personal development.<br></p><p>“When you think about a master's degree, one immediately thinks about research articles and experiments. While that is a great deal of mastering, the actual mastering is that of oneself. Principles such as discipline, time management and accountability, are really what the master's is about, for me at least."<br></p><p>He has signed a contract with the Panthera Conservation Organisation, where he will be taking point as their Conservation Support Coordinator. Using the skills from his research project, he will join the Panthera team in the fight against the loss of big cat biodiversity. “Our team will be implementing cutting edge machine learning techniques to track, monitor and protect big cat species in our wild parks," he says.<br></p><p>“When I think back to my SciMathUs days, I cannot believe the person I was. The transformation over these years has been incredible. I am so thankful and grateful for the opportunities and effort many of the SciMathUS staff put into me (you know who you are). I hope my success has brought you joy, and you can rest easy knowing that all that patience really fuelled my academic career."<br></p><p>He hopes, in his way, to be an example to the youngsters back home who are still stuck in the cycle of entrapment that he was so fortunate to escape.​</p><p><br></p>
SU awards honorary doctorates to economic experts awards honorary doctorates to economic expertsCorporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking<p>​​Stellenbosch University (SU) awarded honorary doctorates to two economic experts Profs Leonard Wantchekon and James Robinson at its March graduation. They received the degrees Doctor of Commerce (DCom), <em>honoris causa</em>, on Wednesday (27 March 2024) at two separate graduation ceremonies for the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.</p><p>Wantchekon was honoured for his substantive contributions to the fields of political economy, development economics and economic history, while Robinson received the degree for advancing the field of quantitative economic history in South Africa and for his commitment to working in the global south and actively collaborating with emerging scholars in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.</p><p>In his acceptance speech, Wantchekon, who hails from Benin, thanked SU for the honorary doctorate and said he felt honoured and proud for having received this incredible recognition. </p><p>“I am glad that I have been invited to join the effort to build strong, resilient, and cutting-edge academic instititutions in Africa, particularly South Africa.  </p><p>“This is a huge opportunity for me, and I cannot wait to engage personally and institutionally with SU and other elite universities, and the university system in South Africa. I am eager to continue what we have been doing at SU for the past several years."</p><p><strong>More about Wantchekon</strong></p><p>A professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, Leonard Wantchekon's research centres on Africa, with a focus on democratisation, clientelism and redistributive politics, the resource curse, and the long-term social impact of historical events.</p><p>His innovative work includes research on political institutions and governance, for which he did field experiments with politicians competing in real-time elections to investigate the effects of policy and campaign messaging on voters' behaviour. Other ground-breaking studies related to the long-term economic effects of historical events, such as the Atlantic slave trade, on Africa.</p><p>In 2014, Wantchekon established the African School of Economics (ASE) in Benin, his native country. The school identifies prospective African economists and policymakers and prepares them for industry or for doctoral studies. Several ASE students have since enrolled in PhD programmes in the United States and elsewhere.</p><p>Having previously held positions at Yale and New York universities, Wantchekon is a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society, as well as an executive committee member of the International Economic Association.</p><p><strong>Prof James Robinson</strong></p><p>In his acceptance speech, Robinson<strong> </strong>said he was very happy with the great honour bestowed on him by SU.</p><p>“My collaboration with SU has been important to me personally and intellectually. Now I send my PhD students here as often as I can to work in the institute LEAP (Laboratory for the Economics of Africa's Past). The research at SU is revolutionizing the study of economic history of Africa and I just hope that I can be a part of that and scale it up to the whole continent."</p><p>Robinson encouraged the graduates to carry forward all the intellectual life and research at SU.</p><p><strong>More about Robinson</strong></p><p>Prof James Robinson is a thought leader on economic development and political institutions. His affiliation with SU dates back several years. He supported the University as it prepared to host the first-ever World Economic History Congress in Africa in 2012. Engagements following this event precipitated the establishment of the Laboratory for the Economics of Africa's Past (LEAP) to elevate African voices in the disciplines of Economic History and Economic Development.</p><p>With collaborators from SU, the University of Chicago and Harvard, he also embarked on a project focusing on women's political participation in sub-Saharan Africa in historical and contemporary contexts. The exchange between SU and Chicago remains active.</p><p>Robinson currently serves as Reverend Dr Richard L Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies, university professor as well as director of The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts – all at the University of Chicago.</p><ul><li><strong>Photo</strong>: Profs James Robinson and Leonard Wantchekon with their honorary degrees. <strong>Photographer</strong>: Stefan Els</li></ul><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p>​<br></p>
Psychiatry doctor continues family's PhD tradition; focuses on break-ups among emerging adults doctor continues family's PhD tradition; focuses on break-ups among emerging adults Corporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking [Alec Basson]<p>​Coming from a bloodline of academic intellectuals, it was only a matter of time before Alberta (Berte) van der Watt of Paul Roux in the Eastern Free State would scale the heights of academic success. She obtained her doctorate in Psychiatry at Stellenbosch University's (SU) March graduation on Tuesday (26 March 2024).<br></p><p>What makes her achievement special is that it brings the Van der Watt family's crop of doctorates to four – not something one encounters every day. Both her parents, Gideon and Ronél, and her sister, Lize-Marié, have PhDs – Gideon in Theology, Ronél in Psychology and Lize-Marié in History. They are also all Matie alumni. Gideon and Ronél obtained their master's degree at SU and their doctorates at the University of the Free State.</p><p>“I feel very proud to be able to hold my family's name high. I also realise how incredibly blessed and privileged I was (and still am) to have been able to study," says Van der Watt, who is currently based at SU's Department of Psychiatry.</p><p>“I always jokingly referred to the 'Van der Watt PhD disease' and said I wasn't going to contract it, but well, here we are."</p><p>Van der Watt's parents say they are very proud of their daughter's achievement, especially her hard work and perseverance. They also greatly appreciate her supervisors and the Department of Psychiatry for the opportunities they created for her.<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/AlbertavdWatt_7.jpg" alt="AlbertavdWatt_7.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:540px;height:360px;" /><br></p><p>According to Van der Watt, she was never under any pressure to also obtain a doctorate like the rest of her family.</p><p>“I've been blessed with wonderful parents who allowed me to find my own path, do my own thing. They were always very supportive. My family has been incredibly supportive of me, giving me advice on how to break the back of the work, how to deal with the politics of academia, and how to keep praying."</p><p>Van der Watt says her path to academia wasn't exactly straight forward.</p><p>“I actually wanted to be a Haute Couture designer and first did a three-year diploma (and one year internship) in fashion design, as well as short courses and diplomas in event and conference management, among others. Things didn't work out the way I had planned so I decided to go to university.</p><p>“After obtaining my master's degree in psychology, I left academia and ventured into project and construction management. But the academic bug bit again and I became the research assistant to Prof Soraya Seedat at our Department of Psychiatry, and the rest is history."</p><p><strong>PhD research</strong></p><p>In her research, Van der Watt looked at the emotional effects (specifically post-traumatic stress disorder) of crumbling love relationships on emerging adults. Emerging adults are 18–25 years old.</p><p>She says research shows that these break-ups can be quite traumatic, causing symptoms similar to those seen after physical or sexual assault. The characteristics of these break-ups (for example, specific reasons why the relationship ended) can put emerging adults at greater risk of experiencing trauma.</p><p>“Recognising the traumatic nature of the associated experiences can help individuals to seek support and improve their mental wellbeing. The findings suggest that the use of trauma-focused treatments should be explored as potentially useful therapy to address the post-traumatic stress symptoms associated with crumbling romantic relationships among emerging adults."</p><p>Van der Watt says she had to process broken love relationships herself and the comments she received often made her feel as if her pain was not valid and her feelings were meaningless.</p><p>“As a result, the hurt, the break in confidence, the feeling of not being good enough was never truly dealt with. The emotional wound was only soothed, which makes people develop a distrust and an unhealthy attachment that has other negative consequences and can hinder future relationships. I realised there are so many other emerging adults who are going through exactly the same thing."</p><p>According to Van der Watt, her findings can help emerging adults avoid unhealthy attachment, stop the negative circle of bad relationships, and show more respect for their feelings.</p><p>“They are already under so much stress to find their way, find a career, find a life partner – if things don't work out, they need help and recognition of their feelings."</p><p><strong>Future plans</strong></p><p>Although she has already reached the pinnacle of academic success, Van der Watt wants to do another master's degree in clinical psychology and also combine clinical work and research.</p><p>“I desperately want to develop a trauma-attachment-oriented intervention for emerging adults struggling to cope with a break-up.</p><p>“I'm thinking specifically of a combination of long-term exposure therapy and rupture repair. For this, I need further education, especially in therapy."</p><p>Van der Watt describes herself as an open book. “My face has never been able to hide anything either." She says people are sometimes surprised when they hear she likes the German heavy metal band Rammstein.</p><p>Apart from her involvement in research projects in the Department of Psychiatry, Van der Watt is also a freelance editor.</p><p>When she has time for a break, Van der Watt goes to the gym, plays tennis or visits wine farms. She also enjoys board games, reading and watching television series.</p><ul><li><strong>Main photo:</strong> Dr Alberta (Berte) van der Watt at the graduation ceremony. <strong>Photo 1</strong>: Dr Alberta (Berte) van der Watt with her parents at the graduation ceremony. <strong>Photographer</strong>: Stefan Els</li></ul><p>​<br></p>
“Wheels of Opportunity” – Stellenbosch chemistry lecturer cycling 600km for student support“Wheels of Opportunity” – Stellenbosch chemistry lecturer cycling 600km for student supportFaculty of Science (media & communication)<p><span style="text-align:justify;">Dr. Marietjie Lutz, a first-year chemistry lecturer at Stellenbosch University, is embarking on an ambitious effort to raise funding for undergraduate BSc students facing financial challenges by cycling from George to Stellenbosch over the Easter weekend, covering 600 km in only six days.</span><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Lutz says the inspiration for embarking on this project came after trying to find ways of helping a bright first-year BSc student attending her classes in 2022: “The student was on the brink of homelessness and food insecurity. Despite facing immense financial stress, this determined student excelled academically, demonstrating resilience and determination".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Lutz then realised she can use her passion for cycling – she has, inter alia, completed the Cape Epic in 2016 and 2017 – to empower students who are dedicated to their studies, but lack the financial resources to complete the journey.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">With the support of her husband and four children, she will cycle mainly on gravel roads from George through the towns of Oudtshoorn, Calitzdorp, Riversdal, Swellendam, and Greyton to Stellenbosch. This unique fund-raising effort will take place over the Easter weekend, from 29 March to 3 April 2024.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She invites individuals who share her vision of providing opportunities for promising students to contribute to this meaningful cause.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">To support the "Wheels of Opportunity" initiative, interested individuals can donate through the<strong> </strong><a href=""><strong>GivenGain platform​</strong></a> (click on this link to make a contribution)<strong>.</strong> Every contribution, no matter how small, will make a significant impact on the lives of students striving for excellence against all odds. For those interested in participating or supporting the cause in any alternative manner, contact her directly at <a href=""></a>.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"> Together we can make a difference.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">​<strong>Event details:</strong> "<a href=""><strong>Wheels of Opportunity: Cycling for Student Support</strong></a>"  (Click here to make a contribution)<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Dates:</strong> March 29 to April 3, 2024<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Route:</strong> George to Stellenbosch (via Oudtshoorn, Calitzdorp, Riversdal, Swellendam, and Greyton)</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Distance:</strong> Approximately 600 km in 6 days<br></p><p><em>​On the photo above, Dr Marietjie Lutz in front of her first year chemistry class in the General Chemistry building. Photo: Stefan Els</em><br></p>
Show your support for Global Recycling Day: bring your e-waste to the Rooiplein on Monday 18 March your support for Global Recycling Day: bring your e-waste to the Rooiplein on Monday 18 MarchPetro Mostert<p></p><div class="OutlineElement Ltr SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;clear:both;cursor:text;overflow:visible;direction:ltr;color:#000000;font-family:"segoe ui", "segoe ui web", arial, verdana, sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;"><p class="Paragraph SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin-bottom:10.6667px;padding:0px;vertical-align:baseline;background-color:transparent;color:windowtext;"><span class="EOP SCXW108861340 BCX0" data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":278}" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"><span style="">To raise awareness about Global Recycling Day on 18 March 2024 and International Day for Zero Waste (30 March), the Environmental Sustainability team of Facilities Management is partnering with the UNASA student society, Wasteplan, and EWASA for an e-waste recycling drive.</span> </span></p></div><div class="OutlineElement Ltr SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;clear:both;cursor:text;overflow:visible;direction:ltr;color:#000000;font-family:"segoe ui", "segoe ui web", arial, verdana, sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;"><p class="Paragraph SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin-bottom:10.6667px;padding:0px;vertical-align:baseline;background-color:transparent;color:windowtext;"><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US" class="TextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">E</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">lectronic </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">waste, or e-waste, contains numerous chemicals and heavy metals that can pose a risk to human and ecological health. It is also high-value material that can be reused and save the mining of raw materials. Keeping it out of landfill sites, recycling what is possible,</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> and discarding the harmful components in certified</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> responsible</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> ways is essential</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> for our planetary health</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">.</span></span><span class="EOP SCXW108861340 BCX0" data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":278}" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"> </span></p></div><div class="OutlineElement Ltr SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;clear:both;cursor:text;overflow:visible;direction:ltr;color:#000000;font-family:"segoe ui", "segoe ui web", arial, verdana, sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;"><p class="Paragraph SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin-bottom:10.6667px;padding:0px;vertical-align:baseline;background-color:transparent;color:windowtext;"><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US" class="TextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">SU </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">provides</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> a </span><span class="NormalTextRun SpellingErrorV2Themed SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;background-repeat:repeat-x;background-position:left bottom;">separate</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> collection str</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">eam </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">for e</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">-waste </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">on</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> our </span><span class="NormalTextRun ContextualSpellingAndGrammarErrorV2Themed SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;background-repeat:repeat-x;background-position:left bottom;">campuses </span><span class="NormalTextRun ContextualSpellingAndGrammarErrorV2Themed SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;background-repeat:repeat-x;background-position:left bottom;">and</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">works</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> with</span></span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-ZA" class="TextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> registered waste management compan</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">ies</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> that legally</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> reuse, </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">strip and recycle electronic waste</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">. For this effort, SU will </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">receive a manifest and a safe disposal certificate for e-waste </span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">collected from campus</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">.</span></span><span class="EOP SCXW108861340 BCX0" data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":278}" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"> </span></p></div><div class="OutlineElement Ltr SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;clear:both;cursor:text;overflow:visible;direction:ltr;color:#000000;font-family:"segoe ui", "segoe ui web", arial, verdana, sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;"><p class="Paragraph SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin-bottom:10.6667px;padding:0px;vertical-align:baseline;background-color:transparent;color:windowtext;"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-ZA" class="TextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;">Please note that only </span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-ZA" class="TextRun MacChromeBold SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;font-weight:bold;">non-SU asset items</span><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-ZA" class="TextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;"> can be dropped off at Monday's yellow e-waste bins on the Rooiplein</span><span class="NormalTextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;">.</span></span><span class="EOP SCXW108861340 BCX0" data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":278}" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"> </span></p></div><div class="OutlineElement Ltr SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;clear:both;cursor:text;overflow:visible;direction:ltr;color:#000000;font-family:"segoe ui", "segoe ui web", arial, verdana, sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;"><p class="Paragraph SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin-bottom:13px;padding:0px 0px 1.33333px;border-width:0px 0px 1px;border-style:none none solid;border-left-color:initial;border-right-color:initial;border-top-color:initial;border-bottom-color:#000000;vertical-align:baseline;background-color:transparent;color:windowtext;"><span data-contrast="none" lang="EN-ZA" class="TextRun SCXW108861340 BCX0" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;">Bring your e-waste on Monday and help us create a healthier environment.</span><span class="EOP SCXW108861340 BCX0" data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":278,"335572079":6,"335572080":1,"335572081":4278190080,"469789806":"single"}" style="margin:0px;padding:0px;font-size:12pt;line-height:22.0083px;font-family:raleway, raleway_embeddedfont, raleway_msfontservice, sans-serif;"> </span></p></div><p>​<br></p>
Record number of Maties cyclists tackle Cape Town Cycle Tour to raise at least R350 000 number of Maties cyclists tackle Cape Town Cycle Tour to raise at least R350 000 Corporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking [Anél Lewis]<p>​A record number of 70 cyclists will be moving for Maties in need during the Cape Town Cycle Tour on Sunday 10 March.</p><p>Lead by Prof Wim de Villiers, Stellenbosch University (SU) Rector and Vice-Chancellor, the group of alumni, staff, students and friends of the University hopes to each raise at least R5 000 for #Move4Food, one of the priority initiatives that form part of the University's Bridge the Gap fundraising campaign. </p><p>Combined, the efforts of this intrepid group of veteran and newbie cyclists could raise at least R350 000 to help hungry SU students who may not have the financial resources to cover their food costs while they are on campus. </p><p>While in the past, participants taking part in the event to raise funds for the University used to be able to choose their own cause, the dire need to support students grappling with food security led to the decision to concentrate the cycle tour's fundraising efforts in Move4Food. “The need for support keeps growing each year. This year alone at least 5 000 students are silently battling hunger," explained Alwin Mabuza of SU Development and Alumni Relations, “and we want to change that." </p><p>Speaking at the official jersey handover ceremony this week, Mabuza added that the student-led campaign is one of the ways in which SU can provide immediate relief for hungry students. Viwe Benxa, Alumni Participation Coordinator, shared some of the stories of students who have benefitted from the campaign in recent years. “Poverty is not a choice, and Move4Food is the reason why we can still smile and retain our dignity," reported one of the beneficiaries. </p><p>The number of SU cyclists taking part for a worthy cause has grown from five a few years ago to a substantial 70 participants. “Next year, we aim for 100," quipped De Villiers, who will take part in 2025 for the last time as Rector and Vice-Chancellor as his term ends. A veteran of the 109 km event, Prof De Villiers shared sage advice for the debutants encountering Suikerbossie for the first time. “You are going to be having a lot of fun while doing good. When you go up Suikerbossie, just start singing. Soon, others will join and that, as well as the shouts of 'Go Maties', will carry you through." Admitting to having not done much training, he said he was hopeful that “muscle memory" would carry him over the line.</p><p>Brandon Como, SU Event and Security Operations Officer, agreed that the spectators' cheers would help tired legs keep moving. “Also, hearing shouts of Move4Food during the race are a reminder that there is a bigger cause behind you." Ferdinand Mettler of the Stellenbosch Business School is cycling to raise funds for the Future Fund, which supports postgraduate students with bursaries. Admitting that he is “one of those cyclists who gets a push up Suikerbossie", he said knowing the hard work was for a worthy cause made the efforts worthwhile. “We want to make a difference."</p><p>First-time participants and postgraduate students Siphiwe Phetla and Tendani Tshauambea said they're taking part as their way of “paying it forward." Both have firsthand experience of the difference #Move4Food can make in the lives of students in need. “This is my way of giving back, as I too have received support from SU," said Tshauambea. While nervous about the daunting 109 kms that await him in less than two weeks' time, Phetla said he was looking forward to completing the race “for a greater cause". </p><p>Ferdi van Dyk, Alumni Participation Manager, said he was pleased to see the growing popularity of the fundraising event. “We want to build a culture of Maties making a difference on campus."</p><ul><li>To support any of the Maties cyclists taking part in the CTCT for #Move4Food, visit <a href=""><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""></span></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> or go to </span><a href=""><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">GivenGain</span></a> and search for Stellenbosch University and its fundraising campaigns. <br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
Engineering graduate plans to pay SU skills forward graduate plans to pay SU skills forward Corporate Communications and Marketing (Hannelie Booyens)<p>​​​When Kabelo Tlhabadira moves to the town Kathu in the Northern Cape in January to start his career as a civil engineer-in-training at the Sishen Mine, he will be accompanied by his younger brother, Onalenna. The main reason for uprooting the Grade 10 pupil from the brothers' hometown, Thabazimbi in Limpopo, is to impart the invaluable academic skills Tlhabadira has learned over the past five years at Stellenbosch University (SU) where he's just completed a BEng Civil Engineering degree.<br></p><p>“Most young people in Thabazimbi go work in the mines after school. The economy is very bad at home and there's little inspiration to make more of your life," Tlhabadira explains. “I want to make sure my brother gets a head start. He will start Grade 11 at Curro Kathu High School and I will support him over the next two years to get the best possible matric marks."</p><p>Tlhabadira has big dreams for his younger brother, hoping that he will receive a law degree from SU and one day make it to one of the world's top universities such as Harvard or Yale.</p><p>The confident young man, who graduated with flying colours on 13 December, is a completely different person from the uncertain teenager who arrived in Stellenbosch in 2019 to join SU's SciMathUS programme. This programme offers learners who have already passed Grade 12 a second opportunity to improve their matric results in specific subjects to enable them to reapply for university programmes.</p><p>Tlhabadira's mother, Maria, heard about the SciMathUS programme when he had already registered to study occupational hygiene at North-West University (NWU). His poor matric marks had limited his university options. “Although I never failed a subject, I was always an average learner. I passed matric with 45% for physics and 54% for maths. At the time I didn't realise what my potential was," he says.</p><p>A bursary from the Sishen Iron Ore Company-Community Development Trust (SIOC-CDT) enabled Tlhabadira to come to SU to join SciMathUS. At first, Tlhabadira wasn't sold on the idea. “I felt I was going to fall behind my peers. However, my parents reminded me that my marks were not good enough for the engineering courses I had applied for and that I had settled to study in a field I wasn't passionate about at NWU. They urged me to give SU a chance, also because it would mean I could get funding for my studies."</p><p><strong>Radical improvement</strong></p><p>After completing the SciMathUS programme, Tlhabadira's amazing potential became evident. When he repeated his matric exams at the end of 2019, he received 90% for math and 85% for physics. The year at SciMathUS was a life-changing experience, Tlhabadira says. “SciMathUS was an eye-opener. It opened so many doors for me. I developed a deeper understanding of who I am and what I could achieve if I applied myself. It made me realise that I didn't have the right skills to study at school. I came to understand what's required to get the marks to make it at university."</p><p>Tlhabadira's first year as an engineering student coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures brought a fresh set of challenges. He found online learning difficult, but after he returned to Stellenbosch, things started improving. “Luckily, I passed the second opportunity of the first-year exams I had failed, and eventually I started to find the right balance. I realised I'm a slow learner and I had to put in double the time and effort to get the same results as the top students. I stopped going out with friends. At night I would review the work we did in class to make sure I was keeping up." As time went on, exams also became less stressful. “I was no longer panicking. I knew I had done the hard work."</p><p>Getting used to res life was another challenge, but Tlhabadira eventually became good friends with fellow-engineering students at Eendrag residence. “Initially, it was very hard. But as time went on, I started becoming comfortable and I blended in with everyone. I was committed to making the most of my university experience. Failing was never an option because I couldn't afford to lose my bursary. There were still days of self-doubt and times when I struggled emotionally, but I kept going because I knew if I succeeded at my studies, I could help my family. That's always been the biggest driving force in my life. <span class="ms-rteFontSize-2 ms-rteThemeFontFace-1" style="line-height:107%;"><span class="ms-rteFontSize-2 ms-rteThemeFontFace-1">I was also inspired to follow in my father’s footsteps, as he graduated as a mechanical engineer at Tswane University of Technology. He played a massive role in my education path</span>.</span><span class="ms-rteFontSize-2 ms-rteThemeFontFace-1">"</span></p><p>Tlhabadira says he will always be grateful for the impact the SciMathUS programme had on his life. “When I arrived in Stellenbosch, I was full of self-doubt. I used to aim for the bare minimum academically. The guidance I received from lecturers such as Dr Elza Lourens forever changed my life. She motivated us and her enthusiasm when we got the answers right was so encouraging. At SciMathUS I learnt study techniques and life skills that gave me confidence. It changed me from an average person into someone exceptional."</p><p>Tlhabadira is excited to apply his engineering skills in Kathu for the next three years while also getting practical experience as a PIT (professional in training) in the mine's projects department. After the completion of his work contract, he hopes to return to SU to start an MBA degree. If all goes well, both Tlhabadira brothers will eventually be proud SU graduates.</p><p><strong>PHOTO: Stefan Els</strong></p><p><br></p>
Mom gets to cap son on graduation day gets to cap son on graduation day Corporate Communications and Marketing (Hannelie Booyens)<p></p><p>The ecstatic celebrations of graduation day sometimes obscure the harrowing struggles students and their families endure to make it to the finishing line. For Kayden Carelse, receiving an honours degree in logistics on 14 December was an emotional day. With him on stage was his mother Leane Kirk who had the honour of capping her son as his name was read out.  </p><p>Kirk, who works as a personal assistant at Governance Function Support in the Registrar's Division at Stellenbosch University (SU), played a crucial role in her son's success. As a single mother, Kirk has made considerable sacrifices to support Carelse throughout his studies.  </p><p>The mother-son duo was beaming with pride after the ceremony. “My mom has been a pivotal figure in both my journey in life as well as in academia," Carelse said. “Being on stage with her today was the result of her support and belief in me. She is the reason I'm here today." </p><p>Achieving this milestone is a testament to Kayden's resilience and determination, Kirk said. “I'm so proud of him. It's been a rough few years, but he pushed through." </p><p>Like many students who faced unexpected challenges during the Covid 19 pandemic, Carelse had to dig deep to find motivation and discipline to stay focused on his studies. He embarked on his academic journey in 2019, pursuing a BCom degree in economic and management sciences. In his second year, tragedy struck as Kayden's grandfather, Dennis Carelse who was like a dad to him, succumbed to Covid during his June exams. His family made the difficult decision to withhold the news until he completed his final exam the next day. The revelation left him devastated and it took all his strength to stay on course. In 2021, Carelse faced further sorrow with the passing of a close uncle and cousin. </p><p>Adversity has taught him to become strong and resourceful, Carelse says. “The many hardships throughout my life have shaped my character. My stubbornness to succeed is a trait that has contributed substantially to getting through my studies and doing my best, and being resilient is a product of this trait. I always kept sight of my end goal which was to carry my family name to new heights." </p><p>The consistent support from his family contributed substantially to sustaining his emotional and mental needs during taxing times such as exams and general burnout periods, Carelse says. “It was a constant reminder of why I am studying and what my goals are." </p><p>Carelse also credits the friendships he formed at Huis Visser for shaping his character. “Huis Visser was a place that became my home and a haven in the fast-paced and stressful environment at SU. I formed strong bonds with many of the other residents and the sense of brotherhood contributed strongly to my character development, instilling traits of being a team player and leader."  </p><p>Carelse says he will always treasure the friendships he formed at SU. “The diverse environment at the University has allowed me to interact and network with people I will have a relationship with for a very long time to come."  </p><p>When he started his honours degree, he was mentally and emotionally drained, Carelse says. But the help and encouragement he received from one of his lecturers, Heinrich Freiboth, made a massive difference. “His door was always open, and he helped me overcome a lot of doubt in my honours year."  </p><p>Next year Carelse will start working as a fleet manager and he plans to build his experience in the field of logistics so that he can later return to SU to complete a master's degree. “The field of logistics is rapidly growing. What drew me to the discipline was that I can contribute to an aspect of business that was not traditionally deemed as important, but now forms an integral part of business success. During my undergraduate studies, my ability to grasp concepts in logistics made it even more attractive and interacting with logistics-related literature and work was energising and impactful for me."  </p><p><strong>PHOTO: Ignus Dreyer SCPS photos</strong></p><p> <br></p><p>​<br></p>
Popular journalist obtains master’s degree for research on payment model for media journalist obtains master’s degree for research on payment model for mediaCorporate Communications and Marketing (Hannelie Booyens)<p></p><p>Award-winning journalist Carryn-Ann Nel has overcome many obstacles in her long career, but the most difficult challenge she set for herself was to obtain a master's degree in journalism. Her graduation from Stellenbosch University (SU) on 11 December was a jubilant occasion.</p><p>Nel describes the graduation ceremony as one of the greatest and most enjoyable moments of her life. “Those few seconds where you walk across the stage and everything just goes silent... I realised the two years of research and writing my thesis was all worth it. I am grateful and extremely proud."</p><p>After the graduation ceremony, she went out to dinner with her family. “We celebrated my master's degree with tears, bubbles and beautiful speeches," says Nel. Congratulations poured in from hundreds of colleagues, family and friends on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter).</p><p>Nel has been a keen writer since childhood when she started keeping a diary at the age of ten, something she still does faithfully. Her Afrikaans teacher at high school, Rika du Plessis, encouraged her to channel her natural flair for writing into journalism. In her typical unabashed way, Nel confesses that in her early youth there was an ulterior motive for wanting to become a journalist - she loved cricket and desperately wanted to meet her hero Herschelle Gibbs.</p><p>“So, I was thinking of how I could meet him. Through journalism of course! And I did eventually meet him – the day he appeared in court for drunk driving – but that's a story for another day! I never became a cricket writer because I fell in love with news."</p><p>Nel, who lectured journalism at SU in 2019 when she occupied the prestigious Rykie van Reenen chair, has been a journalist for 18 years. She earned her stripes at <em>Die Burger</em> and made a name for herself at <em>Rapport</em> and <em>Beeld</em>. Later she switched to the digital news platform Netwerk24 and these days she works as a content producer at Media24's TV production house, Pop24.</p><p><strong>Career highlights</strong></p><p>There are too many career highlights to mention, says Nel, but she singles out the day when she was in the same room as former president Nelson Mandela. “Even though I didn't meet him in person, our eyes locked. That was a huge moment for me, as I was a junior journalist at the time. Other highlights were my days as an education reporter in Johannesburg during the #FeesMustFall protests. I felt that I was part of an important chapter in the history of our country. On a more personal level, another highlight was when I was named best columnist at Media24 in 2013 for columns I wrote for the youth market. I didn't expect it at all, it was wonderful to be recognised."<br></p><p>For her master's degree under the guidance of Prof Lizette Rabe, Nel investigated paywalls and subscription models and the impact they have on the media landscape. During the time she worked at Netwerk24, her curiosity was piqued as to whether South Africans had already made the mind-shift to pay for news. She also wanted to determine to what extent paywalls contribute to the sustainability of journalism in a competitive advertising market.</p><p>“My conclusion was that readers who can afford it should pay for news, otherwise quality journalism will suffer, especially in a market with news that is not verified and fake news that causes us daily headaches. I think my research contributes to the question of the sustainability and future of journalism. Are paywalls part of the solution to making good journalism sustainable and ensuring that newsrooms can function? I think so."</p><p>When asked how she coped with the stress of working and studying simultaneously, Nel's wit shines through once more. “My first answer is a lot of wine!" But on a more serious note, she mentions that she gave up alcohol in the home stretch of her thesis. She focused solely on her studies, and it was worth the sacrifice.</p><p>“It was definitely the most difficult two years of my life. I think what worked for me was that I planned my week thoroughly and tried to get enough balance. I also wanted to enjoy my student years and not feel like I was switching off and not seeing my family and friends. My parents' names, Vivier and Lorraine, should be on the degree certificate alongside mine because they were the people who got me through. Juggling work and studies wasn't always easy, but I didn't want one to suffer due to the other. I just had to make time to give my best to both. It was important for me not to 'lose' myself, but to still find a healthy balance between work, studies, and my personal life."</p><p>Nel started her master's studies while Covid measures were still in place, and she attended most of her classes online. “Prof Rabe and I stayed in touch regularly via e-mail and WhatsApp calls. She kept me on my toes and motivated me to never give up. She constantly reminded me of one of Madiba's most famous quotes: 'It always seems impossible until it's done.' I think that will stay with me forever."</p><p><strong>Social media star</strong></p><p>Nel describes herself as a “go-getter" and someone who always persists and always wants to know “why". About her large following on social media, where she candidly shares titbits about things like matters of the heart and body positivity, she says it's important not to take yourself too seriously.<br></p><p>“I think balance is always the answer. I have held fairly senior positions in my career, yet I feel I should never take myself too seriously or be a know-it-all. I remain a human being with faults, and I still learn about the world every day, but I am also a human being with a responsibility to use my platform for the good. I also think the feedback I get from social media users makes me feel like I'm initiating important conversations."</p><p>The popular journalist is also philosophical about the future. “I believe one should master as many fields as possible in the industry. You should never stop learning otherwise you'll stagnate. That's how you can enable yourself to step into any role, precisely because you never know in which direction the industry will move next. You have to keep up or you're going to fall behind. It's so exciting to know that you are empowering yourself all the time! I'm excited about the future because I think it forces us to think more innovatively and creatively about how we're going to tell stories."</p><p><strong> PHOTO: Stefan Els</strong></p><p>​<br></p>
Dr Antoinette van der Merwe to lead Stellenbosch University’s IT Division Antoinette van der Merwe to lead Stellenbosch University’s IT Division Petro Mostert<p>​<br><br></p><p>When looking at the series of events, milestones and turning points that moulded Dr Antoinette van der Merwe's professional career path, it appears as though the stars aligned perfectly to prepare her to take on her new role as Chief Director of Information Technology at Stellenbosch University (SU), which she will assume from 1 March 2024.  </p><p>Dr Van der Merwe is no stranger to the digital world, as she has been involved in digital teaching and learning since she joined SU in 1998. Over the years she has gained valuable experience leading a variety of institutional strategies and projects, most notably the pivot online during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I believe that I have forged close ties and healthy working relationships with a large number of stakeholders in faculties and the PASS environments to help me take on this new challenge together with an unbelievably skilled and committed IT team." </p><p>When asked what she is most looking forward to in her new role, Dr Van der Merwe said it is working with and being the voice of a strong and dedicated IT team that has demonstrated over the years that they are knowledgeable, skilled, and deeply committed to SU's mission and vision, making a difference in helping the University on its journey towards digitisation and digital transformation.  </p><p>Prof Stan du Plessis, SU's Operating Officer, says during her presentation to the selection committee Dr Van der Merwe shared “a highly compelling vision of what we can achieve at SU over the next decade with an ambitious IT agenda and that he is energised to work with her to realise this enormous potential. She brings tremendous institutional knowledge and experience and a track record of being able to mobilise cooperation and to deliver. She has my complete confidence."  <br><br></p><p>Dr Van der Merwe was previously the Senior Director in the Division for Learning and Teaching Enhancement. She has been instrumental in professional academic support for the past 25 years at SU. She holds an MA in History from Texas A&M University, USA and a PhD from Stellenbosch University in Science and Technology Studies. She also completed the Wharton Advanced Management Programme in 2023 which she describes as a life-changing experience. “It afforded me the opportunity to learn about leadership and all aspects of management from<em> </em>the experiences shared by gurus in diverse fields, network and learn with<em> </em>48 other C-suite individuals from across the globe as I critically reflected on my own leadership style." Her main research interests include the scholarship of educational leadership, the effective use of learning technologies in higher education and language planning and management. <br></p><p><strong>IT's next journey</strong> </p><p>Dr Van der Merwe says IT has their work cut out for them in the next few years to drive sustainable digital transformation as a collaborative institutional strategy and to transform learning and teaching, research and social impact aligned with Vision 2040 and the Institutional Framework (2019-2024). This will require a team effort with shifts in terms of technology, culture, and workforce both within IT but also broader within the institution to ensure that there is a high level of intentionality for true digital transformation of all aspects of the University to be successful. </p><p>She is especially excited about leveraging the potential and opportunities of <em>generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) </em>both in terms of enhancing productivity and driving innovation while also of course remaining cognisant of potential risks. </p><p>Most importantly, she said, is to ensure that IT has “a seat at the table": that we will be able to listen to the needs of the faculties and institution and that our voice as a team will be heard to be a full partner in the institutional planning and building of the Stellenbosch University of the future. She will therefore have a dual focus: Leading the IT team to deliver operational excellence through technology infrastructure and services and enabling transformation through the translation of innovation into new business value by aligning closely with the institutional strategy and needs of the faculties and PASS environments. </p><p><span style="text-align:justify;">For Dr Van der Merwe it is crucial in strategy and in life to always </span><span style="text-align:justify;">make</span><span style="text-align:justify;"> sure that you start </span><span style="text-align:justify;">with</span><span style="text-align:justify;"> the </span><span style="text-align:justify;">objective</span><span style="text-align:justify;"> in mind and then align your strategies to achieve that. “IT is an </span><span style="text-align:justify;">enabler,</span><span style="text-align:justify;"> and it is important that we imagine our potential futures as a university collaboratively given the current Higher Education national and international trends and challenges and then consider how we can use IT to effectively enable and support those potential futures."</span><span style="text-align:justify;"> </span></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I believe that the IT team is already standing solidly on the building blocks they've put in place to take on the challenges that lie ahead. Together with the existing technical and governance expertise in the IT team and in collaboration with faculties and other stakeholders, I hope to provide intellectual and strategic leadership as an integrative leader to achieve our vision: “<em>Leading sustainable digital transformation at SU to enable Vision 2040 through the innovative, integrated and appropriate application of Information and Communication Technologies in all SU's core functions through collaborative and reciprocal internal and external partnerships."</em> I believe that it is crucial that we build on and learn from our remarkable achievements (attained in a record time) during the COVID-19 crisis to plan for post-COVID-19 technology-enabled HE scenarios in a flexible and consultative way, while taking the uniqueness of every faculty, the diversity of our student body as well as SU as a university in (and for) Africa (and the world) into account." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">When asked what she does in her spare time, Dr Van der Merwe answered: “I am first and foremost the mother of Alex. He grounds me". As one of South Africa's top chess players, Alex recently finished his matric at Paul Roos Gymnasium, and together the duo travels a lot to attend championships across the country and abroad. He will be joining SU next year to study Data Science. “He is the best thing that happened in my life," she says. Her husband, Brink, is a Professor in Computer Science at SU.  ​</p><p>​<br></p>