On the 19 and 20 September, AIMS South Africa had the pleasure of hosting two groups of students pursuing undergraduate studies in mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics, and computer science from the universities of Limpopo (UL) and Walter Sisulu (WSU). The students visited AIMS as part of their educational tour as required by the Department of Higher Education and Training.
AIMS South Africa Director Prof Barry Green and Academic Director Dr Simukai Utete gave students an overview of AIMS vision and missions; academic, research and public engagement programme; its impact/footprint locally and internationally. In his welcoming remarks, Prof Barry Green encouraged the students to enrol for postgraduate studies at AIMS. Dr Rejoyce Gavhi-Molefe, Manager of the AIMS House of Science inspired the students with an interactive talk titled “ embarking on a postgraduate degree”, where she touched on the general ethos students need to subscribe to before pursuing postgraduate studies. This includes motivation, understanding of the discipline and its subject matter; the differences between postgraduate degrees, skills, and knowledge required and acquired; opportunities available and fundamental challenges faced by most people in academia, making reference to her own journey as a researcher.
Students were also exposed to job opportunities available in their respective fields as well as the personal experiences of AIMS current students and alumni through a panel discussion. The panellists included Mr Rock Stephane Koffi, PhD student in financial mathematics, Structured Masters students Precious Blessing Khumalo, Zizipho Maqokolo (panel moderator), Tshenolo Daumas, Yannick Harisson Nkocko Awountsa, and Karabo Mogotsi. Another panellist was Mhlasakululeka Mvubu, AIMS South Africa alumnus and former data science intern at AIMS South Africa.
Some of the students felt that they received valuable information that they can use in their careers in the future. Others came to AIMS exuding a sense of despondency at their mathematical sciences degrees and said that the visit helped them gain insight into the field.
“I didn’t understand what AIMS was about even when I read about it online but the description I got made me want to pursue mathematics. I’m a 2nd-year student who always wanted to study human genetics but I found myself in Mathematical sciences because of limited space in my desired course but the panellists have outlined how possible it is to link mathematics with everything. AIMS has finally given me hope that I will definitely get to pursue human genetics in future and I hope to do this under the guidance of this institution”, said one of the students.
Another student reiterated the sentiments shared by most of the students.
“Doing a BSc degree seemed difficult until I visited AIMS South Africa. At times I felt like dropping out because it was tough. However, this visit has given me hope again. I felt like I have gained so much knowledge and I am more motivated than ever”, the student said.
The visit was organised by AIMS House of Science, and forms part of our programme to recruit and boost transformation and and increase the pipeline by encouraging students from historically disadvantaged institutions to take up study and research in mathematical sciences at AIMS South Africa.