“As I work hard, I often wonder if anybody notices. I’m now aware that people are definitely watching. It means that the hard work I do truly pays off, persuading me to continue with my research,” says a newly awarded Dr Nomngongo.
Dr Philiswa Nomngongo from the Department of Applied Chemistry at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) was awarded a L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Sub-Saharan Africa Award at a gala event in Johannesburg, on Wednesday, 26th of November 2014.
“Recognition by an international organization is very encouraging and it gives me a feeling that my research is significant and of worth. It’s one of the highlights of my research career,” she said in an interview after being recognised under the category of Postdoctoral Fellowships. She is among the top 5 women ‘making things happen’ in the sphere of science, selected from 250 applicants from African countries. The Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded to researchers working in research laboratories, as well as at African doctoral universities.
South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology Dr Naledi Pandor delivered the keynote at the event. “South Africa has a well-developed research base and network of public science research institutions focusing on key priority areas. We have not yet properly unleashed the scientific talent of half of our people, the better half, the women.” Dr Pandor commended the initiative which has been celebrating trailblazing women of science since 1998, saying: “Without incentives that support and recognise women in research, significant change is unlikely to take place. We need interventions in favour of developing women in research, not only for its own sake but also to compensate for women’s dual careers at home and work.”
Dr Nomngongo looks to stimulate interest in science to generations behind her. She continued to say, “I hope to be part of the women who inspire and encourage young women from the secondary school level to take up subjects that will lead them to enter into the field of science engineering and technology.”