Stellenbosch University
Welcome to Stellenbosch University
From soccer player to PhD candidate
Author: CERI Media and Communication - Maambele Khosa
Published: 07/09/2023

​Graeme Dor's journey from soccer pitch to the realm of academia has been marked by dedication, passion, and a remarkable ability to balance multiple spheres. Armed with a BSc in GIS and Remote Sensing, as well as an MSc in the same field, both from the University of the Witwatersrand, Dor's academic foundation was strong. But it was his professional soccer career that lent a unique vibrancy to his story.

Growing up in Johannesburg, Dor's childhood was filled with both the thrill of sports and the altruism of humanitarian work ingrained in his family. Bonding with his elder brothers over games and sports, he developed the very skills that would later serve him well in his academic pursuits. 

Dor's soccer journey was a decade-long tale of dedication. Playing for Wits FC, his skills on the field were matched by his commitment to studies and work. While soccer in South Africa often offers limited long-term prospects, Dor's dual commitment led him back to academia, where he recognized his passion for GIS, Data Science, and Public Health. The decision to pursue a PhD at CERI came naturally, aligning his interests and skills for the future.

The discipline and teamwork instilled in him through soccer find new life in academia. His research focus at CERI is applying geospatial and molecular epidemiological techniques to enhance understanding of endemic and emerging pathogens, particularly in Africa. Drawing parallels between the rigorous discipline required in both fields, Dor is poised to excel in academia just as he did on the field. 

​​Joining the academic community at CERI, Dor looks forward to collaboration and innovation. Guided by the inspiring researchers and academics he encountered during his public health work, he is eager to contribute and learn in equal measure. Reflecting on the intersections between sports and academia, Dor notes how resilience, a hallmark of his sporting career, influences his academic mindset. 

Dor's aspirations extend beyond his PhD journey. He aims to create actionable insights into pathogen dynamics in Africa, establishing systems for ongoing monitoring. His future endeavors will continue to be at the forefront of public health. Notably, his inspirations extend from the soccer field to figures like Zinedine Zidane, who exuded effortlessness through skill, and Sibusiso Vilakazi, embodying the hard work that underpins mastery. From soccer's "Mr Mnandi" to an emerging force in academia, Graeme Dor's narrative is a testament to passion, adaptability, and the powerful synergy between sports and scholarship.​​