Nompumelelo Sharol Mbali Kubheka, a recent master’s Student in Chemistry at the Vaal University of Technology under the thesis title: ‘Zein, Collagen and PVA polymer fibre blends embedded with metal (Mn and Fe) oxide nanoparticles for wastewater treatment.’
“This research was of good significance to the existing knowledge. It illustrated that polymer fibre blends incorporated with metal oxide nanoparticles can be useful for wastewater treatment hence these nanomaterials are eco-friendly, biodegradable, and biocompatible,” she shared.
Achieving this goal, Nompumelelo feels anything is possible if you dedicate the necessary time for it. “It means I have nurtured the skills of being a researcher that contributes knowledge to the existing body. I have not only made my family proud, hence I am the only child in my entire family who has studied this far. This means I am just a few years from becoming a Doctor of Philosophy,” she said.
“I feel very happy and proud of the great milestones I have encountered during my academic years. I am very grateful for every challenge I came across because it made me more inquisitive of seeking knowledge,” she added.
Nompumelelo plans to commence her Ph.D. in Chemistry and specialise in the field of nanotechnology. “I plan to become a good researcher and lecturer. I would like to also start an NGO that will assist with Science, Technology, Engineering and Management (STEM) subjects and mentor high school learners studying STEM subjects. I would like to encourage them into STEM fields that are still relevant in our economy and globally. I will also empower the learners with knowledge of how to finance their studies at University,” she said.
Nompumelelo’s words of encouragement to students or colleagues, looking to study further: “Whenever you start this journey of studying always remember WHY you are doing it. That will fuel you to put in extra time and effort in your field of study”.
Nompumelelo lives by the motto: “Sleepless and work smartly to attain your goals. Your tomorrow is reliant on today’s efforts”.
NRF funded Nompumelelo’s studies: “I am grateful of the opportunity that NRF rendered me. It made my goal a true success,” she says.
Nompumelelo is currently tutoring physical sciences to matriculates from various high schools on Saturdays and school holidays.
Article by: Qhawekazi Memani