Durban University of Technology (DUT) student Thandazile Mncwango been awarded the Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a Master of Science (MSc) in Chemistry at the University of Toledo in Ohio, USA beginning of August 2019.
Speaking on her achievement, DUT’s Dr Myalo Sabela, said: “As a Department of Chemistry, we are very delighted and proud to have one of our graduates selected for such a prestigious scholarship and therefore we believe that it is a perfect example and an eye opener to other potential candidates.”
The scholarship is all-inclusive and covers her round-trip airfare, tuition fees, accommodation, living allowance, book allowance and health insurance. Also, she has never been overseas so she is already anticipating the culture-shock.
Sharing her joy on her achievement, Mncwango said ecstatically,” I feel extremely honoured just considering the global scale and impact of the Fulbright programme. I have had to pinch myself a few times but reality is sinking in as the departure date is on the horizon.”
The Science fundi completed her National Diploma in Analytical Chemistry in 2017 followed by her BTech in Chemistry in 2018. She is passionate about catalysis research and applications and looks forward to furthering her understanding of the field by pursuing her Master’s degree which has a duration of two years. Mncwango found out about the scholarship through a flyer that was posted by one of her lecturers, and made the decision to apply motivated by the fact that she had nothing to lose. “It was only when I was shortlisted for the interview that I realised that I actually stand a chance to continue my studies in the US,” she said.
Besides studying, she aims to do some sightseeing. “There is a general American influence within South Africa and I hope to get a chance to visit the iconic locations I grew up watching in movies such as enjoying an event at Madison Square Garden or walking the streets of Manhattan in New York, or perhaps bumping into celebrities in Los Angeles,” she added.
In terms of what she hopes to get from this experience, she added that she is hoping to gain a deeper insight into catalysis and learning the industry specific best practices from the US.
Going forward, her future plans include working in research and development in the consulting or private sector utilising the skills gained through international study to optimize current processes in South Africa.
Mncwango stressed that her journey would not be complete if she did not thank the entire Chemistry department, which as a unit, functions very efficiently in ensuring that a student’s potential is unlocked.
Pictured: Thandazile Mncwango.