TUT's Engineering Top Achievers share their insights to achieving success

by Mosima Rafapa

31 October 2023

The Tshwane University of Technology's Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE) recognised the academic excellence of its top achievers during an awards event on 23 October. Six graduates, comprising five Master's graduates and one BTech graduate, obtained their qualifications cum laude, with exceptional scores. The recipients shared their insights and journeys towards achieving academic success.

Oluwasegun Chijioke Adekoya.

Did you always plan to pursue this career, or did your aspirations develop over time? What motivates you to keep going to achieve your goals?

Oluwasegun Chijioke Adekoya:
Master of Engineering in Polymer Technology: 85% 

I specialise in the use of biopolymers for drug delivery systems. My journey began during my undergraduate studies, when I recognised the significant potential of scientific advancements in healthcare. Despite facing academic stress and financial constraints, my determination remained resolute. I firmly believe in the transformative power of education and research. Under the mentorship of Prof Emmanuel Rotimi Sadiku, I am now pursuing my Doctorate Degree. With the unwavering support of my family, friends and the academic community, I am committed to making a lasting impact through pioneering research and advancement. 

Sharlotte Mamatebele Kubjane:
Master of Engineering in Metallurgical Engineering: 82% 

I enrolled at TUT for a Bachelor of Technology in Metallurgical Engineering in 2012, despite my initial interest in medicine. During my P1/P2 training in 2016, I worked at Prof Patricia Popoola, the Research Leader for Advanced Engineering Materials and Surface Technologies at FEBE's lab, where my love for research started. Prof Popoola mentored me during my Masters of Engineering in Metallurgy. Under her guidance, I learned about different metals and how to write research articles. There were times when I wanted to give up, but I am grateful to Nana Arthur from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Prof Popoola for their unwavering support and patience. At the time I struggled with my mental health but thanks to their help, I was able to complete my studies. I find setting goals for myself very motivating; it gives me direction and purpose. 

Tiaan Du Plessis. 

Tiaan Du Plessis:
Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering: 82% 

My journey started during high school, where I was fortunate to meet my mentor, Dr Christiaan Oosthuizen. He is a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. I quickly found my passion in Mechanical Engineering and being the first in my family to pursue a career in engineering, inspired me to give it my all. Over the years, I concluded that anything is possible with passion, curiosity and the willingness to learn new things. One major aspect of my achievements is the people I surrounded myself with. I strongly believe that you can achieve great things with the right people on your side. Therefore, I am fortunate to have a brilliant mentor and loving family that inspires me to go further. Although I am currently exploring the industry, my academic journey is not over, as I will pursue a PhD in robotics soon.

Karabo Innocent Matumba:
Master of Engineering in Polymer Technology: 80% 

During my childhood, I had a keen interest in science, which led me to pursue a diploma in Industrial Physics and a B.Tech. in Polymer Technology during my undergraduate studies. My passion for research developed when I completed my B. Tech. and began working with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) as a visiting master's student. Witnessing experienced researchers and scientists take pride in their work, inspired me to work hard and strive to be the best in my field. I aspire to pursue a Ph.D. and become an exceptional researcher, contributing significantly to advancing knowledge.

Douw Gerbrand Faurie: 
Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering: 79% 

I have always wanted to be a creator of that which does not yet exist, in other words, an engineer. However, I did not always see myself pursuing anything higher than a Bachelor's Degree. The drive to go further developed over time. We cannot become comfortable in this fast-paced world without learning or improving ourselves. That said, what drives me is that I seek to be better today than I was yesterday. I compete with the person I was yesterday in everything, be it what type of person I am, what skills I possess, or any other aspects one can think of. 

Rejoice Mahlodi Maapola:
Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Industrial Engineering: 82%

I find inspiration in my speech impediment and I have always strived to show that individuals with speech impediments can overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. I originally wanted to be a doctor but, because of financial constraints, enrolled for Industrial Engineering. As I became more knowledgeable about Industrial Engineering, I grew to appreciate it and became really passionate about it. The idea that "industrial engineers make things work better" stuck with me. My motto is "Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection."

Karabo Innocent Matumba.
Sharlotte Mamatebele Kubjane.
Douw Gerbrand Faurie.
Rejoyce Mahlodi Maapola.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Phaphama Tshisikhawe, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
Tel: +27 12 382 4711  Email: tshisikhawerpt@tut.ac.za