Grace Nomthandazo Ngubeni (28)
Associate lecturer and PhD candidate, Wits University
Grace Ngubeni is a bright young mind completing a PhD and changing the world for the better. She has studied a postgraduate degree at Rhodes University, published two scientific papers, and received numerous awards during her research career. She has also received the Professional Provident Society Scholarship and, during her MSc, received the department of science and technology Women In Science TATA Scholarship Award. She currently holds two prestigious scholarships — MERG and the NRF Scarce Skills Doctoral Scholarship and is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.
“I was introduced to research in my third year of study,” says Ngubeni. “I engaged in a year-long biochemistry research project and a semester-long chemistry research internship programme at Rhodes University. It was during the internship programme with the physical chemistry lab where my interest in scientific research grew.” Her interest developed as she continued her BSc honours and master’s studies at Rhodes and today she is currently pursuing her PhD at Wits University. Her research involves the synthesis and characterisation of semiconducting nanocrystals for the fabrication of solar cell devices — the production of renewable energy.
“Once I have qualified as a doctor of philosophy in chemistry I would like to continue teaching others in the sciences through research and lecturing,” she says. “I also hope to build my professional career in a more defined speciality within chemistry and contribute towards knowledge through further research. My ultimate long-term goal is to team up with like-minded professionals to empower the next generation as this would pay it forward and create jobs in our country.” — Tamsin Oxford