Always Persevere, says BSc Graduate
Mr Nhlakanipho Kwazi Mthembu first learned about astronomy during his orientation as a first year BSc student. ‘I knew I wanted to study science but when the orientation guide spoke about the SKA Telescope, I was amazed. So began my love for astronomy,’ he said.
Mthembu made a decision soon thereafter to pursue a career in astrophysics. ‘I was a first year student studying a four year BSc augmented degree. I knew that reaching my academic goals would take a lot of work but my parents always told me to persevere in the face of difficulty so I was determined to succeed.’
With his BSc Honours degree behind him, he is now completing his Masters degree in Astrophysics under the supervision of Dr Matt Hilton at the Astrophysics and Research Unit (ACRU) at UKZN and is being funded by the National Research Foundation.
Mthembu is fascinated with the discovery of new planets, extra-terrestrial life and the origins of the universe. ‘The highlights of my studies include learning about radio astronomy at the SKA radio astronomy workshop as well as learning how staff from my department are involved in the Planck space observatory collaboration and the South Pole telescope.’
He says his family, his supervisor Dr Matt Hilton, friends who are completing their PhD and the ACRU journal club are his biggest sources of motivation.
His next goal is to obtain his PhD in Astrophysics. ‘If you know what you want and believe that you are going to attain it then it gives you the strength to persevere,’ he added.