The Vaal University of Technology and the Chemistry Department are proud to announce that one of their students scooped a first prize award at the 6th Annual Nano Sciences Young Researchers Symposium (NYRS) 2016 held at the MinTek Conference Centre on 18 November.
The 23-year-old Semakaleng Kganyago, who comes from Pretoria, is a full-time Master’s student in Chemistry. Raised by a single parent, she was encouraged to never stop believing in herself. With this attitude, she completed her BTech last year and graduated this year, Cum laude.
During the course of the semester, as chemistry students, they were asked to bring forward their abstracts. Her abstract was titled: “Manipulating the size and shape of cobalt oxide nanoparticles”. The competition was held amongst different universities including Wits, University of Johannesburg, UNISA and others.
“All the glory goes to God. I would like to thank my family, supervisor, Dr Elvera Viljoen and co-supervisor Dr Augustine Ofomaja, both senior lectures in Chemistry, for assisting me to be where I am today. Prof Makwena Moloto for the grilling of every Friday’s presentation and also to the NCAP group for always being there,” she said.
Her strong interest in the field of chemistry is on its social and environmental impact and she therefore decided to pursue this interest through her thesis research: “The effect of size and shape of cobalt oxide nanoparticles during the oxidation of Methylene blue.” Methylene blue is a heterocyclic compound which is aromic in nature. It appears as an odourless dark green powder which gives a blue color when dissolved in water at room temperature, although this dye is not regarded as a very toxic dye it can have various effects on human beings and animals, once inhaled it can cause heart rate increasing nausea and vomiting.
“She is a real sunshine and is hard-working. We are proud of her and very thankful that she was also able to assist the BTechs and inspire them,” said Dr Viljoen.