Summa cum laude master’s graduate shines as female engineer

by Phaphama Tshisikhawe

12 May 2023

Nosabelo Sila graduated with a Master’s in Building Science Engineering summa cum laude three days ago, and now the engineering whiz from the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Enviroment is using her ambition, determination and fearlessness to shine in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

Nosabelo Sila graduated summa cum laude with a Masters degree in Building Science.

Sila said the idea of getting this far with her studies took some motivation. “I come from humble beginnings. It took my church, Jesus Dominion International in the Eastern Cape and the teachings, as well as support from my mentor, the senior pastor, who strongly encouraged the youth to go to school and get degrees. It is still the order of the day in the church that youth should get educated. I thank God for the life of my mentor,” she said.

Growing up, Sila developed an interest in Maths, Science and the Built Environment. She enrolled for a National Diploma in Building Science and then a BTech in Construction Management at TUT, because of “the University’s engineering qualifications as well as quality of its graduates.”

For her master’s degree, which was supervised by Prof Justius Agumba, Sila evaluated predictors for the future adoption of building information modelling for health and safety among small and medium construction enterprises in South Africa. 

Sila added that Prof Agumba was exceptionally valuable in and allowed her to elevate her research above the mediocre. She credited him for his knowledge, guidance and support. “Through this research, the technology adoption would add value to the construction industry at large, as we are experiencing rapid technology development in this era of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) drive,” said Sila, who is grateful for the experience she gained.

“The journey to a Master’s degree had its fair share of challenges, but the belief that giving up was never an option, kept me going. I was pregnant for the better part of 2022 and gave birth to a bouncing baby girl in November, yet the determination to complete my degree was extreme and I achieved it, moreover, cum laude.”

Sila is currently in the process of publishing a journal and conference paper with Prof Agumba as co-author for both papers.

“My PhD journey is about to begin and at this point, I believe that not even the sky is the limit,” Sila concluded.

Nosabelo Sila with her supervisor Prof Justius Agumba.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Phaphama Tshisikhawe, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
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