Bumper Crop of Summa Cum Laude Honours Graduates
The School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science awarded a bumper crop of summa cum laude Honours degrees to exceptional students – a total of 11 were capped.
To be awarded an Honours degree summa cum laude, a student must obtain 80% or higher for all requisite modules in the degree as well as for their honours project. Full time students must complete the degree in one year.
Of the 11 students, seven received their Honours degree in Statistics, three in Computer Science and one in Mathematics.
One of the students, Ms Venelle Pather, explained what it felt like to graduate summa cum laude. ‘I feel honoured that God has blessed me,’ she said. ‘Most importantly, continually trying one’s best to reach any goal, makes the finish line a whole lot more desirable and sweeter to cross.’ Her classmate, Ms Ronel Palhad agreed. ‘I feel ecstatic at achieving this significant milestone in my life,’ she said.
Pather, who did a BSc Honours degree in Statistics, said she found her honours thesis to be the most interesting part of her studies. ‘I decided to challenge myself by choosing a relatively new topic,’ she said. ‘Completion of a thesis just adds to the feeling of accomplishment once your Honours degree is done.’
For her honours thesis, Palhad was able to apply statistics to genetics. ‘This was the most exciting and interesting part as I worked together with doctors from Nelson R. Mandela Medical School to analyse data from people infected with HIV,’ she explained. ‘I had no prior knowledge of genetics, however I learnt a lot and gained a lot of experience.’ Palhad is continuing her studies, having registered for a Masters degree in Statistics.
Pather plans to make a success of every opportunity that comes her way so she can prosper and perhaps one day be able to make a significant difference in society. ‘I believe that if you are blessed, it is in turn your duty to give back,’ she said.
Pather and Palhad both thanked their families and loved ones for their ongoing support and love. This, they said, was what gave them the determination required to achieve their goals.
‘The immense dedication of my Statistics lecturers also aided my growth as a student and equipped me with the knowledge I need to gain success in future endeavours. I am filled with gratitude towards everyone who has helped me throughout my studies.’
Pather had advice for her fellow students: ‘Surround yourself with enough motivation to always try your best, thus creating a driving force towards your goal. Once that’s set in motion, the simple ingredients of hard work and belief in your own capabilities are all you need.
‘Every student should also bear in mind the following message,’ said Pather: ‘Never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart. Encompass humility and accept growth.’
For Palhad, the key to academic success was time management. ‘Study well in advance and enjoy what you are studying.’
UKZN’s Dean and Head of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, Professor Kesh Govinder, said the School was enormously proud of the students. ‘We have great hopes for their positive impact on South African society. They are role models for all current and future students.’