Learners inspecting how the labs operate
The Vaal University of Technology hosted the 3rd annual Girls in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Seminar on Wednesday, 14th of August 2019 in Desmond Tutu Great Hall, Vanderbijlpark campus. Young girls from several high schools were addressed by successful role models who have made it in the STEM fields, who shared their experiences as young adults and how they made it throughout their school and academic journey until they graduated with PhD degrees.
The seminar creates an opportunity for female learners to understand the importance of choosing current subjects that would enable them to gain access into STEM related programmes at tertiary institutions. They also had an opportunity to visit laboratories in the faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences and participate in practical experiments to give them a feel of what the STEM field entails in the world of work.
There were various role models who were invited to motivate the young girls in this journey of life and encourage them to make the right choices. Amongst them was Dr. Tozama Qwebani-Ogunleye who is a Project Manager in the Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences called Dihlare Remedy (Pty) Ltd, an Advocate for Science who has delivered many Science talks. She was a member of the National Research Foundation (NRF), role-modelling campaign which encourages learners to pursue studies in the STEM related fields. Dr. Tozama gave words of inspiration to the audience by sharing a few points from her book “20 Fantastic Life Lessons: Insights from my life journey” she said: “Self-leadership or self-governance is the ability to lead yourself from one point to continuous growth and excellence.” “Learn to be patient with yourself, have a teachable spirit and be a team-player because networking is very important, it expands your knowledge” she added.
Dr. Teboho Mabotha is the National Liaison Officer at the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF), responsible for strategic partnership with national stakeholders. She holds a PHD in Chemistry from the University of Cape town. Her passion is to make an impact in the development and growth of communities and young people in South Africa through Science and Innovation. She lives by a daily quote that reads “the extent of your vision is the boundary of your blessing.” She describes herself as a person who has always had a fire burning inside of her to be successful. “It is important to have a desire to succeed and don’t let anyone take that away from you” she said. To give courage to the learners once more, she added, “Know what you are passionate about, in that way, you can do and be anything you set your mind to. Always be eager to learn and remember, the sky is not the limit.”
Exhibitors from government agencies and private entities formed part of the seminar through sharing pertinent information on STEM relation fields to help learners make informed decisions in preparation of their journey to join tertiary institutions in future. The girls had a lovely day exploring and acquiring knowledge by visiting various stalls. They expressed their gratitude to VUT for granting them this opportunity and went back home with improved determination to strive for nothing but success.