Medical Science Boffins Graduate Cum Laude
UKZN’s Medical Science class of 2015 was topped by cum laude graduates Ms Keira Tucker and Mr Zola Mpofana.
A talented surfer, guitar and piano player, Tucker (21) received six Certificates of Merit and six Deans Commendations, the National Research Foundation Innovation Honours Scholarship for her current degree in Medical Microbiology, was a Peer Wellness Mentor, shortlisted for the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship in 2015 and completed the K-RITH Mycobacterial Genetics Course – all recognising her academic excellence at UKZN.
Two-thirds of Tucker’s fees at St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls in Kloof were scholarship funded. She matriculated with Academic Colours, Music Full Colours, Leadership Service Awards, and took 1st place in a surfing competition and 2nd place in Inter-House Music.
‘I feel really proud and grateful that my hard work and dedication to studying over the years has paid off,’ said Tucker. ‘My parents are ecstatic and feel so blessed and grateful to have a child who works really hard and deserves the recognition.
‘Never take the fact that you are at university for granted. You are very lucky to have the opportunity to study,’ she advised.
Mpofana (22) was a Newcastle High School’s 1st team rugby, chess and basketball player before enrolling at UKZN where he scooped five Merit Certificates, two Deans Commendations, played for the basketball team and received a certificate for tutoring Anatomy students.
‘I’m very happy and proud of myself for making it this far. My family has always supported me throughout my journey so when they heard I was graduating cum laude they were very excited and happy for me’.
Mpofana sensed many more doors would open for him. He is now a third-year Medical student at Wits University. ‘If you want something badly enough then go out and fight for it! I may not be the smartest or the most gifted but I have a strong work ethic and I believe that hard work beats talent any day,’ he said.