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Coming from humble beginnings did not stop Vernon Nagan (28) from making his dreams come true. Nagan graduated for his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering (MEng) at the 2023 Durban University of Technology (DUT) Spring Graduation. The graduation ceremony took place at the Olive Convention Centre (OCC) during the afternoon ceremony on 18 September 2023.

The Chatsworth born lad chose to study Civil Engineering to improve the livelihood of the communities and to play his part in developing South Africa into a country where basic services such as water and sanitation is available to everyone.

Nagan is a Civil Engineer who is passionate about Water Engineering. In 2020, he embarked on his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering specialising in Water Engineering. It was not an easy journey for Nagan as he had to work under the COVID-19 lockdown which threw a curve ball in his research. However, through perseverance he managed to complete his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering, graduating with Cum Laude.

“Throughout my journey, from my National Diploma up to my Master’s degree in Civil Engineering, I have always strived to do my best and work to the best of my ability. Hearing the news that I had graduated Cum Laude for my Master’s degree in Civil Engineering was another cherry on the cake,” said Nagan. Nagan’s dissertation’s title is ‘Long-Term Water Conservation And Demand Management for uMgeni Water in KwaZulu-Natal’

COVID-19 pandemic was one of the challenges Nagan faced during his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering because it delayed his data collection processes and made it hard for him to conduct interviews with the relevant organisations due to lockdown and work from home policies. Secondly, managing time between work and studies was crucial to him, ensuring that he met deadlines and kept to his planned timeframes.

Nagan is forever grateful to his family for their support, saying, “My family has always been my pillar of strength and is the reason I have been successful in my life. They were over the moon and ecstatic to hear that I had completed my Master’s degree in Civil Engineering with Cum Laude.”

It has always been Nagan’s dream to become a civil engineer. He has always been passionate about this field where he can improve the livelihoods of people and make this place a better country for future generations. “To elaborate on years of studying civil engineering, it never felt stressful studying but more like a fun journey,” said Nagan.

Completing a Doctorate in Civil Engineering is Nagan’s long term goal. To him studying is not stressful if a person enjoys what they are doing. His aim is to become a knowledgeable civil engineer where he plays his part in ensuring everyone lives with dignity, and to ensure that services such as water, sanitation and housing are available to people.

“To anyone who wants to study civil engineering, make sure it is something that you enjoy and makes you want to learn more and more. It should be a career that adds purpose to your life and the lives of the community,” said Nagan.

Nagan is currently a trainee civil engineer at Arup Consulting Engineers in Durban. He is working on various civil engineering projects such as designing of civil infrastructure for buildings projects, and designing of stormwater flood lines.

“I would like to thank my supervisor and co-supervisor, namely Dr Seyam Mohammed and Dr Taher Abunama for all the guidance and mentoring during my studies. I am truly grateful for all their help and guidance which played a pivotal role in me completing my Master’s degree in Civil Engineering,” concluded Nagan.

Pictured: Vernon Nagan on is graduation day.

Sibahle Ngcobo

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