This year’s Distinguished Woman Researcher Award for Physical and Engineering Sciences, issued by the National Department of Science and Technology (DST), went to UJ Applied Chemistry’s former HOD and nanotechnology for water treatment specialist, Prof Catherine Ngila.
Prof Ngila was inspired by her then secondary school chemistry teacher to excel and has been on top of her game since. Not only did she graduate as a Bachelor of Education in Science top student, Honours degree led her to be awarded a Germany Academic Exchange Services scholarship to pursue a Chemistry Masters in Science degree followed by a doctoral scholarship in Analytical Chemistry sponsored by the Australian International Development Assistance Bureau / Equity & Merit Scholarship Scheme at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
Prof Ngila aims to design innovative filters that can be used in households by communities without potable water. Also passionate about capacity building through postgraduate student supervision, Prof Ngila said she hopes to spend more time in community engagement activities and work closely with DST /SA Agency for Science and Technology Advancement, to promote science and technology among the school learners. “I would like to pay special attention to girls in schools in addition to mentorship of young researchers in my research field,” she said.