20 April 2016
Volume: 4
Issue: 19
A pensive moment for some of the 117 Doctoral students in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, who were capped during the 2016 Graduation ceremonies.

Red All the Rage at UKZN!

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UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES) once again made a significant contribution to South Africa’s much-needed brain pool of highly-qualified science, technology and engineering specialists, awarding an impressive 117 PhDs out of a University total of 330 during the 2016 graduation ceremonies.

Leading scientists Professor Steven Johnson and Professor Colleen Downs were both made Fellows of UKZN at a College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science Graduation ceremony.

Fellow UKZN Scientists Honoured

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Two academics from the School of Life Sciences on the Pietermaritzburg campus have received UKZN Fellowships in recognition of their distinguished academic achievements.

Ms Kerryn Lowe, seen here with her proud parents, graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics.

Be the Best You Can Be from Day One, Says Summa Cum Laude Graduate

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Ms Kerryn Lowe, awarded a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics degree summa cum laude, attributes her success to maintaining a healthy balance in her life, keeping focused on the bigger picture and having a positive attitude towards her studies.

Mr Preshanthan Moodley is not only a cum laude MSc graduate, but also an accomplished film maker.

MSc Cum Laude Graduate Balances Science and Film Interests

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Mr Preshanthan Moodley received a Master’s in Microbiology degree cum laude for his research on the feasibility of using agricultural waste as a feedstock for biofuel production.

Ms Moirah Malepfane who examined the elemental composition and fertiliser value of human hair for her MSc cum laude degree.

Human Hair – the Next Fertiliser?

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Ms Ntwanano Moirah Malepfane graduated cum laude with a masters in Soil Science degree from UKZN after conducting a study on the elemental composition and fertiliser value of different human hair types in South Africa.

Ms Edna Manda, who graduated with a Master’s in Applied Mathematics cum laude degree, studied mathematical modelling for HIV.

Cum laude Master’s Graduate Tackles Mathematical Modelling for HIV

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Ms Edna Manda graduated with her Masters in Applied Mathematics cum laude from UKZN, her research comprising an investigation of how within-host HIV infection dynamics affect the dynamics of the epidemiology of HIV infection and vice-versa.

Students from UKZN’s African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) who all received PhDs for their Plant Breeding research.

ACCI Graduates Build Capacity in Africa

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UKZN’s African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) on the Pietermaritzburg campus produced a bumper crop of doctoral candidates with eleven receiving PhDs for their Plant Breeding research.

Dr Faustin Habyarimana measured poverty and child malnutrition as part of his PhD degree in Statistics.

Poverty and Child Malnutrition Focus of PhD in Statistics

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Measuring poverty in households and the malnutrition of children under five years using household survey data in order to identify their determinants, was the subject of PhD Statistics research by Dr Fautin Habyarimana.

Mr Nkosinathi Kaptein, who attained his MSc (Agric) degree in Agrometeorology.

Research Technician Proves his Mettle

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For the past eight years, Mr Nkosinathi Kaptein has worked as a Research Technician at the Institute for Commercial Forestry Research (ICFR) on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus - this week he graduated with an MSc (Agric) degree in Agrometeorology.

Mr Rasheed Adebayo of Nigeria, who was awarded his MScAgric cum laude degree in Animal Science.

Nigerian Animal Scientist Chose UKZN because of its ‘International Recognition’

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Mr Rasheed Adebayo was motivated to study for an MSc Agricultural degree at UKZN as he knew it would advance his career at the Federal University of Technology in Minna, Nigeria.

Cage bonding? - PhD graduate Dr Craig Widdows investigated why the Large-Spotted Genet has managed to thrive within an urban landscape.

PhD Study Puts Large-Spotted Genets Under the Spotlight

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Despite the negative effects of urbanisation on biodiversity, some species manage to persist and even thrive within an urban landscape. Little is known about carnivores in such an environment from an African perspective.

DRC refugee Mr George Ilangila who was awarded a BSc degree in Human Nutrition from UKZN.

Exiled Army General, Street Seller and Graduate

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From exiled army general to street seller to BSc graduate at UKZN – it’s been quite a journey for Mr George Ilangila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 

Dr Jospeh Malinzi is warmly congratulated by his fiancé and co-MSc graduate, Ms Winnie Nakiyingi, on the attainment of his PhD in Applied Mathematics.

Mathematical Modelling of Cancer Treatments Subject of Doctorate

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Ugandan national Dr Joseph Malinzi was awarded his PhD in Applied Mathematics for work done on the mathematical modelling of cancer treatments and the role of the immune system’s response to tumour invasion.

Ms Jenna Freer was the only student on the Pietermaritzburg campus to graduate with a BSc degree in Computer Science summa cum laude.

Summa Cum Laude Computer Science Graduate Now Sets Sights on Honours

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Ms Jenna Freer graduated with her BSc summa cum laude in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from UKZN, gaining over 80% in all modules taken, and completing the degree within the minimum time.

Mr Tharish Sooruth, the only summa cum laude BSc Honours graduate in Computer Science, achieved 80% or above in all modules.

In a Class of His Own

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Mr Tharish Sooruth has graduated in a class of his own – the only BSc Honours summa cum laude graduate in Computer Science on the Pietermaritzburg campus.  And his hard work has paid off in the world of work - Sooruth is currently a graduate trainee at First National Bank.

MSc cum laude graduate Mr Derrick Beckedahl with his proud father, UKZN’s Professor Heinz Beckedahl.

Making Atoms Cool: Cum Laude Master’s Student Regulates Atomic Systems

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Mr Derrick Beckedahl graduated cum laude with a Master’s degree in Physics.  His thesis was titled: “Generalisation of Theory and Algorithm for the Configurational Temperature Nose-Hoover Thermostat”.

Mr Wonder Mpapane investigated plants for anti-HIV activity as part of his cum laude Master’s in Chemistry degree.

Cum Laude Chemistry Graduate Investigates Plants for Anti-HIV Activity

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An investigation of the phytochemical structures of three medicinal South African plants, specifically evaluating their isolated compounds for anti-HIV activity, resulted in Mr Wonder Mpapane graduating with his Master’s in Chemistry cum laude degree. 

Dr Riël Coetzer studied the Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus) for his doctorate.

Cape Parrot Genetics Confirmed in PhD Research

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The Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus), an endangered species, is endemic to forests of the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo Province with less than 1 600 remaining in the wild.

Mr Mark Summers, awarded his MSc in Ecological Sciences by UKZN, is not afraid to get down and dirty with his favourite ‘study specimen’ – the Nile crocodile.

Croc Boffs Plan to Stick with Scaly Things

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UKZN has several research projects examining various aspects of the Nile crocodile emanating from the laboratory of terrestrial vertebrate biologist, Professor Colleen Downs of the School of Life Sciences in Pietermaritzburg.

Mr Sithembiso Ndlela (left) and Mr Nhlanganiso Sibisi received their Master of Agriculture degrees in Agricultural Extension and Rural Resources Management.

Mastering Agriculture!

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Two students received Master of Agriculture degrees in Agricultural Extension and Rural Resources Management at this week’s Graduation ceremonies, the first students since the Programme re-located to Cedara to complete five years of study without interruption.

Dr Nick Walker won Singularity University’s Global Impact Competition for his innovative stem cell bank concept aimed at finding a cure for HIV and AIDS.

Biochemistry PhD Graduate Wins International Award for HIV and AIDS Innovation

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Dr Nick Walker, who graduated from UKZN with a PhD in Biochemistry, has won Singularity University’s Global Impact Competition (GIC) for his innovative stem cell bank concept aimed at finding a cure for HIV and AIDS.

Dr Shane McPherson of New Zealand earned a PhD for work done on the urban ecology of the Crowned Eagle.

Crowned Eagle ‘Champion’ Awarded PhD

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Self-confessed ‘raptorphile’ and newly-capped New Zealander, Dr Shane McPherson, travelled to South Africa in 2011 to search for a raptor research study idea.

Mr Lindah Hluyako did not allow a BTech background prevent him mastering the art of scientific writing and completing his MSc in Agriculture in record time.

MSc in Agriculture in Record Time

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Nelson Mandela’s statement about education being the best weapon to use to change the world inspired MSc student Mr Lindah Hluyako to persevere with his postgraduate studies and complete his Master’s degree in Agriculture six months early.

Mr Langalihle Mazibuko, who graduated with a MSc Mathematics degree cum laude.

Science Access Student Moves through the Ranks to Graduate with Cum Laude BSc

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Starting a BSc degree through the Science Access programme - a course aimed to assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds who do not meet mainstream entry requirements - and ending the journey with a cum laude Master’s degree in Mathematics is definitely an achievement to brag about.