Head of Biotechnology, Rhodes University
Who do you think you are, a rocket scientist? Well, the
answer to that question, for Zulaigha Ismail, is, quite
But she says the best part of her job is that she gets to
work in the aviation industry. Ever since she was 12 years
old, Ismail has wanted to work for Nasa, the American
National Aeronautical and Space Administration.
A Capetonian through and through, Ismail studied for
a BSc in electro-mechanical engineering at the university
of Cape Town, where she was a class medallist and
made it on to the dean's merit list. In her third year she
attended astronomy summer school at the South African
After graduating Ismail worked for Eskom at the Koeberg
nuclear power station and, during a sabbatical year,
attended an international development course in France.
At the beginning of 2008 she made the great trek up to
Gauteng to join Denel Aviation, working on the Rooivalk
attack helicopter; later that same year she was awarded an
Australian Development Scholarship from AusAID to do her
master's degree in aerospace engineering at the university
of Sydney � which she achieved with honours.
But Ismail is still gazing at the stars� hoping to work for
Nasa someday. � Tarryn Harbour
Lunch spot: Any halaal Spur