Thirteen students who completed eight months of mentorship in the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) received their certificates of completion on 1 November at a small ceremony in FABI. The mentorship programme runs from March until November every year, targeting students in their second or third year of their BSc degree at the University of Pretoria. 

The students pair with postgraduate students or postdoctoral Fellows in the Institute, who guide them through various laboratory techniques that would prepare them for postgraduate research. 

The following mentors and mentees took part in the programme in 2019:

Dr Vuyiswa Bushula-Njah and Luka van Wyk

Firehiwot Eshetu and Micaela Schagen 

Dr Mesfin Gossa and Lesego Malekana 

Ginna Granados and Melandre van Lili

Darryl Herron and Nhlanhla Simelane 

Angel Maduke and Sheldon Viviers 

Dr Esther Muema and Damian vaz de Soussa

Mohammad Sayari and Jireh Janse van Rensburg 

Dr Michelle Schröder and Marizanne Jones 

Carol-Ann Segal and Sizwe Tshabalala

Hannes Strydom and Jade Tulloch

Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry and Ropafadzai Jawa

Dr Markus Wilken, Frances Lane and Nomaswazi Maseko mentored Deanne du Plessis. 

Professor Brenda Wingfield congratulated the 13 on completing the programme and jumping over the hurdles put in front of them. She said they would have realised that being a scientist also entailed “being able to deal with failure”. Prof. Wingfield said the students would have also experienced the “fun” that came with doing something for the first time and possibly doing something that had not been done before.