31 August 2015 Volume :3 Issue :40

Talented Student Earns Two Prestigious Scholarships

Talented Student Earns Two Prestigious Scholarships
Bachelor of Science student Ms Zahra Essack (left) with the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the College of Humanities.

Third year Bachelor of Science M-Stream student Ms Zahra Essack, has been awarded the College Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship and the Brenda Gourley Scholarship.

The College Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s scholarship, awarded to the three top-ranked undergraduates proceeding from second year to subsequent years of study, recognises top performance over two or more years of undergraduate study.  

The Brenda Gourley Scholarship - named after Professor Brenda Gourley, a vice-chancellor and principal of the former University of Natal - is awarded to the second ranked undergraduate student in the entire University. 

Essack passed her second year with exceptional results. Her academic record includes 20/20 distinctions and she achieved Deans Commendations in all 5 semesters of her degree to date.  

She has taken a keen interest in research in the field of astrophysics. ‘I am currently involved in the Square Kilometre Array South Africa (SKA SA) project and I will continue studying toward my doctorate in astrophysics in order to make a valuable contribution to the field in a South African context.’  

Essack was grateful for the support she received from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, and the School of Chemistry and Physics. ‘Both schools have dedicated academic staff that take a personal interest in my progress and help to develop my theoretical and practical skills.’ 

A quote by Mario Andretti is always uppermost in her mind: ‘Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.’ 

‘I am grateful that the university assists and recognises deserving, high achieving students in this way. It is a singular honour to be associated with such prestigious scholarships,’ said Essack. 

Course Coordinator at the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit, Professor Kavilan Moodley, said: ‘Zahra has an outstanding academic record in physical sciences at UKZN and is destined to have an extremely productive research career in astronomy. The success of excellent students like Zahra bodes well for the growth of South African astronomy as we can look forward to a large pool of highly-skilled researchers to fulfil the investments being made in exciting projects such as the SKA telescope.’ 

Said Physics lecturer Dr Suleman Moolla: ‘I have had the pleasure of lecturing Ms Essack at both first and second year levels. During this period, her outstanding dedication to her studies coupled with her natural flair for Physics has resulted in her achieving outstanding results. I truly believe she can become a great researcher in any area she chooses.’ 

Leena Rajpal

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