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From mathematics to building ocean wave prediction models in New Zealandhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9274From mathematics to building ocean wave prediction models in New ZealandLaura van Laeren (Faculty of Science: Media and Communication)<p>​“Be a critical thinker! Don't accept or easily assume. Look for the proof and learn how to build logical conclusions and arguments." – <em>Dr Christo Rautenbach, MSc-graduate in applied mathematics (2009) from Stellenbosch University, and two doctoral degrees from the Telemark University College in Norway and the University of Waikato in New Zealand. He is also a former member of the Science Student Committee (NSC) at SU.</em><br></p><p>Dr Christo Rautenbach is a Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes Scientist at the <a href="https://niwa.co.nz/">National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research</a> (NIWA) in New Zealand. He started his studies at Stellenbosch University with a BSc in Mathematical Science in 2005.  He also completed his BScHons in Applied Mathematics in 2007, and his MSc in Applied Mathematics in 2009 at Stellenbosch University. Christo then moved to Norway, where he did his first PhD at Telemark University College in Process, Energy and Environmental Engineering. Thereafter, he completed a second PhD in Earth Sciences (Physical Oceanography) at the University of Waikato, New Zealand.</p><p>His current position at NIWA primarily involves building ocean wave and currents prediction models. This work is based on his Applied Mathematics experience. He contributes to interdisciplinary coastal hydrodynamic, sediment-transport and water-quality research as part of a wider group of modellers within NIWA.  “I run these simulations on super computers and thus I also have to be fluent with programming languages," said Dr Rautenbach.</p><p>He also does a lot of work in the communication of science to policy: “I work with ecologists and anthropologists. Ultimately, my work could change laws – especially those related to climate change." </p><p>The thing Christo enjoys the most about the work he does is that it never gets boring and that no two days or projects are the same. He is also proud that his work makes a tangible difference in coastal communities.  </p><p>Dr Rautenbach said that his time at Stellenbosch University helped taught him to think critically. “Stellenbosch University mathematics and applied mathematics were super challenging but built the foundation for my career. Now, as a senior scientist, I stand out from the rest because of my solid foundation," he said.</p><p>Dr Rautenbach's advice to prospective students interested in his field is: “Be a critical thinker! Don't accept or easily assume. Look for the proof and learn how to build logical conclusions and arguments. Having said that, being pragmatic and results-focused will help you a lot, instead of getting lost in unnecessary details. The latter comes down to wisdom and learning from experience."<br></p><p>For more career profiles in the natural sciences, visit ​http://www.sun.ac.za/english/faculty/science/careers-in-science<br></p><p><strong></strong></p><p><strong>This BSc-alumnus profile is part of the Faculty of Science's </strong><a href="/english/faculty/science/Pages/Careers-in-Science.aspx?TermStoreId=d4aca01e-c7ae-4dc1-b7b2-54492a41081c&TermSetId=1a57fdb9-7cd0-4c5a-b27b-d4f1c512c360&TermId=39ee88a6-b001-4bdf-9317-9f803ce2298a">#100CareersinScience</a><strong> project. E-mail us at science@sun.ac.za if you want to share your career journey with current students.</strong><br></p><p>On the photo above, Dr Christo Rautenbach. <em>Photo supplied</em>​</p>
Scientific research: from laboratory experiments to real-life applications http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9277Scientific research: from laboratory experiments to real-life applications Laura van Laeren (Faculty of Science: Media and Communication)<p><br>“Your career is your own. The quicker you find your passion, the easier it will be to attract the opportunities that will harness that passion" – <em>Dr Nonkululeko Radebe, MSc-degree in Polymer Science from Stellenbosch University, and a PhD-degree in Chemistry from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany (2021).</em><br></p><p>Dr Nonkululeko Radebe started studying at Stellenbosch University in 2012 for a BSc-degree in Chemistry and Polymer Science. In 2015 she did her BScHons in Polymer Science and 2017 she finished a MSc in Polymer Science. She then moved to Germany, where she did her PhD in Chemistry at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), finishing in 2021. Dr Radebe is currently employed at the Institute for Chemical Technology and Polymer Chemistry (ITCP) at KIT in the Polymeric Materials group as a Scientific Researcher.</p><p>“My work is quite dynamic and changes every so often," says Nonkululeko. “For my PhD I focused mainly on method development. I developed a novel combination of a rheometer with an FTIR spectrometer using off-axis parabolic mirrors. It involved a lot of system optimisation and troubleshooting of those two instruments. Since my project was interdisciplinary, with physics, chemistry and engineering aspects to it, I collaborated with colleagues from 10 other technical universities within the framework of the German Research Foundation (Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)). For this, I participated in online and in-person meetings and had to present my progress."</p><p>Nonkululeko enjoys being exposed to a wide range of scientists from all over the world, who not only inspire her but actively participate in her own growth as a woman in science. “I truly enjoy the intellectual stimuli and seeing the progression of ideas – from lab experiments and finally into real life applications." </p><p>She also appreciates the opportunity to travel internationally to conferences and meetings. </p><p>According to Nonkululeko Stellenbosch University taught her to be brave and steadfast in her goals: “The most important lesson was that your career is your own and the quicker you find your passion, the easier it will be to attract the opportunities that will harness that passion. The best advice I could give is get yourself a mentor or three. Being in constant contact with someone who is where you would like to be can be one of the best forms of inspiration and motivation. Ask them to be truly honest about the ups and downs so that you can be as prepared as you can possibly be. And when you are still interested, just give it your best try!"<br></p><p>Dr Nonkululeko Radebe started studying at Stellenbosch University in 2012 for a BSc-degree in Chemistry and Polymer Science.<br></p><p><strong>This BSc-alumnus profile is part of the Faculty of Science's </strong><a href="/english/faculty/science/Pages/Careers-in-Science.aspx?TermStoreId=d4aca01e-c7ae-4dc1-b7b2-54492a41081c&TermSetId=1a57fdb9-7cd0-4c5a-b27b-d4f1c512c360&TermId=39ee88a6-b001-4bdf-9317-9f803ce2298a">#100CareersinScience</a><strong> project. E-mail us at science@sun.ac.za if you want to share your career journey with current students.</strong><br></p><p>​On the photo: Nonkululeko Radebe. <em>Photo supplied</em><br></p>
“My scientific training determines the way I approach my work at Ceres Fruit Growers”http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9281“My scientific training determines the way I approach my work at Ceres Fruit Growers”Laura van Laeren (Faculty of Science: Media and Communication)<p></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“At Stellenbosch University you get pushed to master large volumes of work and to relay that in a meaningful manner. In whatever career you follow, this will be in your favor." – <em>Elani van As, BSc-graduate in molecular biology and biotechnology (2009) and LLB (2012).</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Elani van As currently works for <a href="http://www.cfg.co.za/">Ceres Fruit Growers</a> as an Informational Officer in the Producer Services Department. She studied at Stellenbosch University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in 2009. She subsequently completed her LLB at SU in 2012.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Ceres Fruit Growers is a producer-owned company where producers deliver apples and pears (pome fruit) to be packed. We have four pack houses on site and service around 30 farming units of our own. The pome fruit is marketed by Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing (Pty) Ltd. We also pack fruit from marketers such as CORE and The Fruit Route," Elani explains.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I work in the Producer Services Department, where we deal directly with the producers. My manager is an agricultural economist and I provide administrative support to him. My job entails a lot of data gathering and processing. I am also the link between the producers on one side, and the pack house and marketer on the other side, as the producers need to comply with audits and requirements in order to export their fruit to certain markets." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Elani says she enjoys working with data, as she likes working within a structure and is very detail orientated. She also finds it very satisfying to be able to assist producers and third parties with information quickly, providing support, especially during the picking season (January to May), when producers are very busy.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In her current position, Elani doesn't use her degrees directly on a daily basis, but her scientific training determines the way she approaches her work and has given her the underlying skills to be successful at what she does. “I think that whatever you study at Stellenbosch University is beneficial to your future. In my experience one gets molded by learning ways of thinking and approaching difficult subjects and/or scenarios. You get pushed to master large volumes of work and to relay that in a meaningful manner. In whatever career you follow this will be in your favor. I would recommend that prospective students with a love of science to do proper research about all the different fields one can enter before enrolling, there are so many options available to you."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>This BSc-alumnus profile is part of the Faculty of Science's </strong><a href="/english/faculty/science/Pages/Careers-in-Science.aspx?TermStoreId=d4aca01e-c7ae-4dc1-b7b2-54492a41081c&TermSetId=1a57fdb9-7cd0-4c5a-b27b-d4f1c512c360&TermId=39ee88a6-b001-4bdf-9317-9f803ce2298a">#100CareersinScience</a><strong> project. E-mail us at science@sun.ac.za if you want to share your career journey with current students.</strong><br></p><p>​On the photo: Elani van As. <em>Photo supplied</em><br></p>
Never a dull moment: selling microscopes to doctors, pathologists, geologists, metallurgist, entomologistshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9280Never a dull moment: selling microscopes to doctors, pathologists, geologists, metallurgist, entomologistsLaura van Laeren (Faculty of Science: Media and Communication)<p>​​​“The better salespeople out there are the ones who know their field really well. People will respect you and trust you more." – <em>Dewald Noeth, MSc-graduate in biochemistry.</em></p><p>Dewald Noeth graduated with a BSc degree in Human Life Science from Stellenbosch University in 2008. He subsequently did his BScHons and MSc in Biochemistry. Dewald is currently a Technical Sales Specialist in the Microscopy Division of <a href="https://wirsam.com/">Wirsam Scientific and Precision Equipment Pty Ltd</a>.<br> “I am a Technical Sales Specialist, so I sell laboratory equipment," says Dewald. “I specialise in microscopes, from light microscopes to atomic force microscopes and even scanning electron microscopes. My job is to find new customers and build relationships with them, try to figure out their needs and offer them equipment that suits those needs. Then, also keeping them happy afterwards." </p><p>Dewald's favourite part about his job is connecting with people. He said, “I'm an extrovert, so for me, it is building relationships with my customers. I also enjoy the variety; most people think that only doctors use microscopes, this is not true at all. Yes, a pathologist may use one, but so do geologists, metallurgists, entomologists, not to mention all the research departments at a university. There's never a dull moment and always more to learn."</p><p>Dewald credits the variety of skills learnt during his time at SU for his success in his career. “I am able to walk into another life-science department and make suggestions on methods that can be used for research. I learned how to present in the department – it gave me the confidence I have now to do my demonstrations and presentations to my customers. I was very involved with the student societies and was even awarded the SU Rector's award for Excellent Achievement in Leadership in 2011. Those leadership skills that I developed are implemented daily with my team." </p><p>His advice to students thinking of going into technical sales is to study hard. “The better salespeople out there are the ones who know their field really well. People will respect you and trust you more. Variety is the spice of life. Try to learn from the people around you and get involved! It will help you on your journey to build relationships with customers and colleagues.“<br></p><p><strong>This BSc-alumnus profile is part of the Faculty of Science's </strong><a href="/english/faculty/science/Pages/Careers-in-Science.aspx?TermStoreId=d4aca01e-c7ae-4dc1-b7b2-54492a41081c&TermSetId=1a57fdb9-7cd0-4c5a-b27b-d4f1c512c360&TermId=39ee88a6-b001-4bdf-9317-9f803ce2298a">#100CareersinScience</a><strong> project. E-mail us at science@sun.ac.za if you want to share your career journey with current students.</strong><br></p><p>​​On the photo: Dewald Noeth. <em>Photo supplied</em><br></p>
BSc-degree in Human Life Sciences provide stepping stone for career in neurophysiologyhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9282BSc-degree in Human Life Sciences provide stepping stone for career in neurophysiologyLaura van Laeren (Faculty of Science: Media and Communication)<p></p><p>Liné Visser graduated from Stellenbosch University in 2014 with a BSc in Human Life Sciences (stream Biology). She later obtained a National Diploma in Neurophysiology and a BTech-degree in Neurophysiology at the Tshwane University of Technology. Liné is working as a clinical neurophysiologist at Groenkloof Hospital in Pretoria.</p><p>“Working as a neurophysiologist is interesting and ever changing," Liné says. “There are new things emerging every day, one can never get bored. It is an absolute pleasure to meet and work with people every day. Typically, in the morning the neurologist I work with will let me know if there were any admissions the previous evening that need a consultation with me. I finish up these first. Then I have booked patients from 10am onwards. In my current position my consultations are either electroencephalographies (EEGs), where we are recording and interpreting brainwave activity in order to help physicians diagnose neurology-related disorders such as epilepsy, or nerve conductions (NCS) and electromyographies (EMG), where we are stimulating and recording peripheral nerves in order to identify diseased or damaged nerves. We give relevant information to the referring doctor in order to help the diagnosis of specific disorders of the nervous system."</p><p>Liné's BSc-degree was the first stepping stone towards her career in neurophysiology and provided an important basis. “As a result of my time at Stellenbosch University, I am flourishing where I am today," she says. “Even though I am not working in the field I initially started with, being at Stellenbosch for my BSc-degree made me who I am and forced me to learn all the valuable life-skills that I use every day. What I learned there was way beyond what could be taught in a classroom. </p><p>“I think in any scientific field, you should have an absolute love and passion for the field. I do believe that if you love what you do, it doesn't feel like work. If your heart is not in it, search until you find your niche," she concludes.</p><p><strong>This BSc-alumnus profile is part of the Faculty of Science's </strong><a href="/english/faculty/science/Pages/Careers-in-Science.aspx?TermStoreId=d4aca01e-c7ae-4dc1-b7b2-54492a41081c&TermSetId=1a57fdb9-7cd0-4c5a-b27b-d4f1c512c360&TermId=39ee88a6-b001-4bdf-9317-9f803ce2298a">#100CareersinScience</a><strong> project. E-mail us at science@sun.ac.za if you want to share your career journey with current students.</strong><br></p><p>Photo: Liné Visser. <em>Photo supplied</em><br></p><p>​<br></p>
The teaching profession is teeming with opportunities for BSc-graduateshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9284The teaching profession is teeming with opportunities for BSc-graduatesLaura van Laeren (Faculty of Science: Media and Communication)<p></p><p>“I teach and try to inspire young minds to choose a career in science. It is only when you can explain something to someone else in the simplest of ways that you fully grasp a concept!" – <em>Zandri le Grange, BSc-degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (2012) and Postgraduate Diploma in Education (2013), and a member of the Student Representative Council (SRC)</em></p><p>Zandri le Grange graduated from Stellenbosch University in 2012 with a BSc-degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. She subsequently completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at SU in 2013. Zandri works at <a href="https://duineveld.co.za/">Duineveld High School</a> in Upington, where she is a Life Sciences and Mathematics teacher.</p><p>“I teach and try to inspire young minds to choose a career in science. It is only when you can explain something to someone else in the simplest of ways that you fully grasp a concept!" says Zandri. </p><p>“Besides the administrative and extra-curricular activities involved in teaching, my main objective is to find intriguing ways to teach science. I love hands-on science and explaining a topic by involving the learners in their learning process. Sometimes I work alone and sometimes in a team, it all depends on the topic that I teach.  I also try to incorporate different subjects into science, but the South African curriculum makes it harder than in some other countries."</p><p>Before her current position, Zandri gained experience teaching a variety of subjects, including a position teaching Creative Design and Innovation in Abu Dhabi where she found her Biotechnology background gave her an edge. “I don't think everyone fully comprehends the opportunities there are in the teaching profession: there are companies searching for teachers with a BSc-degree."</p><p>Zandri has found that the in-depth knowledge she gained during her BSc studies helps her to guide her learners towards a better understanding of science. Taking mathematics and physics in addition to her biotechnology subjects means she is an all-rounder when it comes to teaching. She was also involved in student leadership and found it a meaningful experience. </p><p>“During my time at Stellenbosch, I was on the Student Representative Council, as well as the Academic Affairs Council – this gave me the opportunity to learn vital life lessons. I also got to meet a lot of people that had an influence on my career choice," she adds. “During your studies, it is important to gain as much knowledge as you can about science. Also, you must remember that science never stands alone, it is integrated into so many walks of life. Explore that and your learners will forever be intrigued!"<br></p><p><strong>This BSc-alumnus profile is part of the Faculty of Science's </strong><a href="/english/faculty/science/Pages/Careers-in-Science.aspx?TermStoreId=d4aca01e-c7ae-4dc1-b7b2-54492a41081c&TermSetId=1a57fdb9-7cd0-4c5a-b27b-d4f1c512c360&TermId=39ee88a6-b001-4bdf-9317-9f803ce2298a">#100CareersinScience</a><strong> project. E-mail us at science@sun.ac.za if you want to share your career journey with current students.</strong><br></p><p>Photo: Zandri le Grange. <em>Photo supplied</em>​<br></p>
Valuable postgrad skills in science transferred to career in textile designhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9283Valuable postgrad skills in science transferred to career in textile designLaura van Laeren (Faculty of Science: Media and Communication)<p>​<br><br></p><p>“I really enjoy creating awareness, admiration and respect for the Cape Flora and Fauna through beautiful and elegant functional art that reaches a wide audience." – <em>Dr Michelle Jooste, PhD-graduate in Botany (2019)</em></p><p>Dr Michelle Jooste completed her PhD in Botany at Stellenbosch University in January 2019. She is the founder and director of <a href="https://coralbloomstudio.com/">CoralBloom Studio</a>, where she works as a textile and product designer, as well as running the production and business side of things. CoralBloom Studio specializes in "fynbos-inspired functional art", incorporating original artworks of indigenous flora and fauna in a range of quality homeware, décor and accessories – all sustainably and eco-friendly, made with natural textiles.</p><p>Michelle's work is a balance of practical and computer-based work – doing product designs, liaising and meeting with clients and shop owners, developing new concepts and ranges. “I use an array of specialised digital editing software to do product design, product mock-ups and seamless pattern designs for textiles," she explains.</p><p>“We work as a family-run team. My mother and sister, both self-taught artists, contribute the original naturalist paintings fusing traditional and modernist watercolour designs. It is my role to translate the original artworks into product designs, facilitate textile printing and production and managing sales.</p><p>“Our hope and vision for the CoralBloom Studio range has always been to captivate a wide audience and make them fall in love with the natural beauty of our country!" says Michelle. “I really enjoy creating awareness, admiration and respect for the Cape Flora and Fauna through beautiful and elegant functional art that reaches a wide audience. We have recently collaborated with the Endangered Wildlife Trust to design and make a functional art range for SANParks. Among others, we are also collaborating with @home on a special project that will launch in September 2022."</p><p>Michelle credits her time at SU for teaching her critical thinking skills, problem-solving, attention to detail and how to deal with challenges in a systematic approach. Despite having moved away from research science into a more creative direction, the experiences of presenting research, public speaking, writing papers and working with supervisors and student colleagues gave her a variety of transferrable skills. </p><p>Michelle advises students to try to find a career that combines both their interest and natural talents. She adds: “I have also learnt not to be afraid of radical changes or thinking out of the box. This way of thinking has taken me on a very exciting and fulfilling career path!"<br></p><p><strong>This BSc-alumnus profile is part of the Faculty of Science's </strong><a href="/english/faculty/science/Pages/Careers-in-Science.aspx?TermStoreId=d4aca01e-c7ae-4dc1-b7b2-54492a41081c&TermSetId=1a57fdb9-7cd0-4c5a-b27b-d4f1c512c360&TermId=39ee88a6-b001-4bdf-9317-9f803ce2298a">#100CareersinScience</a><strong> project. E-mail us at science@sun.ac.za if you want to share your career journey with current students.</strong><br></p><p>​Photo: Michelle Jooste: <em>Photo supplied</em><br></p>
Exploration geology is not a nine-to-five job – but it can take you to interesting places http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9285Exploration geology is not a nine-to-five job – but it can take you to interesting places Laura van Laeren (Faculty of Science: Media and Communication)<p>​“Without a doubt, this is not a nine-to-five job. I love the outdoors and field work, in particular geological mapping, is absolutely the most enjoyable part of the job, even if it can be physically very demanding at times." – <em>Dr Duncan Hall, PhD-graduate in geology (2016)</em></p><p>Dr Duncan Hall graduated from Stellenbosch University with a BSc Earth Science in 2009, followed by a BScHons in Geology in 2010 and finished his PhD in Geology in 2016. At present he works for the gold mining company <a href="https://www.centamin.com/">Centamin </a>as a Senior Exploration Geologist. Centamin is an international gold mining and exploration firm with projects in Cote d'Ivoire and Egypt. Dr Hall is based out of the office in central London but spends significant amounts of time in Egypt with infrequent short visits to west Africa.</p><p>Mineral exploration involves the same indoor-outdoor duality as most field-based sciences. Duncan is involved in planning and supporting ongoing fieldwork and uses specialist software to interpret results in order to plan future field programmes. “Despite all the fancy tech available, I always carry around with me a set of colour pencils for drawing maps and interpreted cross sections. Geology can be delightfully analogue. I find the cognitive engagement with the data when using pencil and paper is often more helpful than endlessly gazing at a screen," he says.</p><p>In the field, his work involves geological mapping and sampling, which requires a sound geological understanding and an understanding of cartography. “No good geologist goes to the field without their hammer, notebook, base map, and compass!" he adds.</p><p>“The thing I enjoy most, without a doubt, is the variety when I am in the field, where this is definitely not a nine-to-five job. I love the outdoors and field work is absolutely the most enjoyable part of the job, even if it can be physically very demanding at times. To do the fieldwork, someone actually pays me to travel to all sorts of out of the way places that very few people with similar backgrounds will ever see or experience." </p><p>One thing Duncan would urge people interested in following his footsteps to do is to learn other languages. “Lots of international travel is a given in this job," he explains. “I signed up for an introductory French course with Alliance Française in Stellenbosch and wish I'd made the effort much earlier. I would recommend picking the most widely spoken languages in regions where mineral exploration is likely to be concentrated. It is always helpful to know at the very least how to greet people in their mother tongue."<br></p><p><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Duncan%20Hall.JPG" alt="Duncan Hall.JPG" style="margin:5px;width:406px;" /><br></p><p>On the photo, Dr Duncan Hall. <em>Photo supplied</em><br></p><p><strong>This BSc-alumnus profile is part of the Faculty of Science's </strong><a href="/english/faculty/science/Pages/Careers-in-Science.aspx?TermStoreId=d4aca01e-c7ae-4dc1-b7b2-54492a41081c&TermSetId=1a57fdb9-7cd0-4c5a-b27b-d4f1c512c360&TermId=39ee88a6-b001-4bdf-9317-9f803ce2298a">#100CareersinScience</a><strong> project. E-mail us at science@sun.ac.za if you want to share your career journey with current students.</strong><br></p>
Core skills in physics took him to quantitative analytics in the banking industryhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9286Core skills in physics took him to quantitative analytics in the banking industryLaura van Laeren (Faculty of Science: Media and Communication)<p><br>“What I enjoy most about analytics is the opportunities it offers for creative problem solving:  very often, a challenge can be approached from one (or a combination) of several angles." – <em>Dr Gys van der Westhuizen, MSc-graduate in physics (2007)</em><br></p><p>Dr Gys van der Westhuizen graduated from Stellenbosch University with a BSc in Physics in 2004, as well as a BScHons in Physics in 2005 and a MSc in Physics in 2007. He then moved to England, where he completed his PhD in Applied Physics (Optoelectronics) in 2013 at the University of Southhampton. For the past seven years, he has been working for FNB as a Quantitative Analyst. His current job title is Head of Analytics. </p><p>“My team and I are tasked with the enablement of data-driven decision-making," says Gys. “We analyze vast amounts of internal and external data to provide insights, or construct statistical or machine learning models that inform how business can better serve customers." </p><p>His typical day would involve meeting with his team to discuss project priorities and potential stumbling blocks and meeting with stakeholders to gather requirements and provide analytical input. He also has to evaluate and revise project solutions and recommendations, translate analytical output for presentation to business stakeholders and meet with peers to align on shared data assets and related projects.</p><p>Gys adds: “Computers are the tools of our trade and we spend a great deal of time writing code in, amongst others, the following languages: SAS, SQL, R, Python and MS Excel. What I enjoy most about Analytics is the opportunities it offers for creative problem solving: very often, a challenge can be approached from one (or a combination) of several angles. Furthermore, the core skills are relatively transferable from one domain to another – in other words, from Physical Sciences to Banking."</p><p>Dr van der Westhuizen stated that he learnt two important things during his time at Stellenbosch University that have helped him in his career. The first was a solid grounding in pure and applied mathematics and programming. The second was how to effectively communicate your findings – this is especially important in a highly multi-disciplinary working environment like banking.</p><p>For those thinking of a career in his field, Gys says that a good understanding of mathematical and statistical concepts is key. It is also very helpful to get familiar with programming and algorithms as soon as possible. For these reasons, an education in the Physical Sciences or Engineering is a good start!<br></p><p>​On the photo: Dr Gys van der Westhuizen. <em>Photo supplied</em><br></p><p><strong>This BSc-alumnus profile is part of the Faculty of Science's </strong><a href="/english/faculty/science/Pages/Careers-in-Science.aspx?TermStoreId=d4aca01e-c7ae-4dc1-b7b2-54492a41081c&TermSetId=1a57fdb9-7cd0-4c5a-b27b-d4f1c512c360&TermId=39ee88a6-b001-4bdf-9317-9f803ce2298a">#100CareersinScience</a><strong> project. E-mail us at science@sun.ac.za if you want to share your career journey with current students.</strong><br></p>
Practical field skills crucial to interpreting complex geological terranes http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9287Practical field skills crucial to interpreting complex geological terranes Laura van Laeren (Faculty of Science: Media and Communication)<p>​​<br><br></p><p>“Working as a Consulting Geoscientist, you can get the best of both worlds.  There are periods where you are being flown to foreign countries to visit places you would never otherwise visit, sometimes finding yourself experiencing local cultures and “hidden gem" locations." – <em>Heike Fourie, BScHons-graduate in earth science (2019).</em></p><p><em><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Heike%20Fourie%202.jpg" alt="Heike Fourie 2.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:233px;" /></em></p><p>Heike Fourie obtained a BSc Earth Science degree in 2018, followed by a BScHons Earth Science degree in 2019. She currently is employed at <a href="https://tectgeological.com/">Tect Geological Consulting</a>, where she works as a Consulting Geoscientist.</p><p>“As a Consulting Geoscientist, my day-to-day tasks can range from field mapping in a foreign country to data interpretation and 3D modelling of structurally complex mineral deposits and geological terranes," said Heike. </p><p>“Additionally, it is sometimes required to interpret satellite and drone remote sensing data and geophysical datasets in order to focus on exploration efforts. Depending on the project, my job can require me to work independently or as part of a team, that can range from two to four in-house geoscientists to multi-company collaborative teams of typically up to 10 geoscientists and geologists. In terms of techniques, structural mapping and core logging is the golden standard of data capture, and its interpretation and integration with other datasets, such as lithological, geochemical and assay data, is crucial in understanding how a mineral deposit formed and what its controlling geometry is.  The software packages I typically use are Leapfrog and Micromine, for 3D modelling, and QGIS and ArcMap for spatial analysis and querying." </p><p>Heike has found that working as a Consulting Geoscientist she can get the best of both worlds.  “There are periods where you are being flown to foreign countries to visit places you would never otherwise visit, sometimes finding yourself experiencing local cultures and hidden gem locations," she explained.  </p><p>One of the most important things Heike learnt at Stellenbosch University was practical experience in the field. “One of the subjects when studying geology at Stellenbosch University is Earth Science Field Skills, which you have from first to third year," she says.  “This involves going into the field for a couple of days to a week, where you get the opportunity to apply what you learned in class on examples in the field.  Having this practical experience increases your confidence in identifying geological features and rock types, which assists with the interpretations of the more complex geological terranes. One of our lecturers always told us 'You only see what you know'.  This has stuck with me over the years, so it's important to go out and look at some rocks!  I also combined my Geology degree with subjects such as Geographic Information Technologies (GIT). Having this knowledge assists me with my day-to-day work."</p><p>On the photo: Heike Fourie. <em>Photo supplied</em>​<br></p><p>​<strong>This BSc-alumnus profile is part of the Faculty of Science's </strong><a href="/english/faculty/science/Pages/Careers-in-Science.aspx?TermStoreId=d4aca01e-c7ae-4dc1-b7b2-54492a41081c&TermSetId=1a57fdb9-7cd0-4c5a-b27b-d4f1c512c360&TermId=39ee88a6-b001-4bdf-9317-9f803ce2298a">#100CareersinScience</a><strong> project. E-mail us at science@sun.ac.za if you want to share your career journey with current students.</strong><br></p>