BSc Honours Graduate Scoops Prestigious National Geology Award
Mr Prenolan Naidoo, who graduated with a BSc (Geological Sciences Honours degree, has been selected as the 2013 recipient of the South African Institute of Engineering Geologists (SAIEG) Student Award.
The SAIEG Student Award is given to a student who has performed well academically and produced a high quality thesis.
Thus, the award is in recognition of Naidoo’s academic performance as well as the quality of his Honours dissertation titled: “Slope Stability Analyses of the Proposed Reconstituted Slope of the Quarry Heights Drive Landslide, Durban, South Africa”, and carries a formal letter of recognition from SAIEG and a prize.
Naidoo’s project involved a geotechnical characterisation of the materials constituting the proposed reconstituted slope followed by slope stability analyses of the proposed slope under critical groundwater conditions. Naidoo was supervised by Dr Egerton Hingston, a Lecturer in Engineering Geology within the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences.
Naidoo obtained his BSc (Geological Sciences) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and was accepted into the BSc Geology Honours programme at UKZN as part of a group of 12 students focusing on Engineering and Environmental Geology. Naidoo’s admiration and appreciation of the Earth and Nature fuelled his life-long ambition to become a Geotechnical Engineer. This ambition soon became apparent during the coursework and field visits to the quarries and mines.
Naidoo is employed as an Assistant Laboratory Technician and pursuing his masters degree on a rating system for a highly degradable type of rock (shale). The masters research is extremely beneficial as houses and industrial sites are now being built on land which was once deemed unsuitable.
‘This research could change the lives of many as very little work has been done on shale rock. In addition the research will allow me the opportunity to work on many projects in South Africa since urban sprawl has forced the relocation of people into more hazardous and steeper terrains,’ said Naidoo.
Naidoo attributed his success to his parents and brother who supported him despite the numerous financial challenges to pursue both his undergraduate and postgraduate education. ‘They constantly reassured me that despite any adversity, success can be achieved with strong will and determination. I am truly blessed to have the love and support from my family,’ he said.
‘The Honours year was really difficult and at times, it was overwhelming. It was the ultimate test of my abilities, requiring practical fieldwork exercises, extensive laboratory testing, academic research and rigorous computational analyses. My success was aided by my gracious and humble supervisor, Dr Hingston who has served as an inspirational mentor. His constant guidance and academic support shaped me into the analytical thinker that I am today. I feel that I have achieved the greatest personal development in my honours year and for the reasons mentioned above, Dr Hingston deserves a lifetime of grace and praise,’ said Naidoo.
‘During the course of his studies Prenolan Naidoo demonstrated a strong work ethic and was both methodical and conscientious in his approach to solving the problems,’ said Hingston.
‘It is not surprising that over all, he was the best student in the Engineering Geology group 2013. The high quality of his work resulted in the submission of a research paper which has been accepted for publication to the organisers of the International Association of Engineering Geology and the Environment Congress scheduled to take place in September 2014, in Turin, Italy,’ said Hingston.
- Leena Rajpal