Nineteen of the graduates who will cross the stage at this week’s Stellenbosch University (SU) April graduation ceremonies will not only become proud SU alumni. They will also join the growing ranks of students who have managed to reach this point thanks to the “second-chance” SciMathUS programme.
Launched 21 years ago, SciMathUS offers learners who have already passed Grade 12 but who did not qualify for admission to higher education, a second opportunity to improve their matric results in specific subjects and reapply to the University. As the name suggests, the programme focuses on Mathematics and (Physical) Sciences, preparing students to enter scarce-skills science-related fields. To date, 1 816 students have completed the programme.
The 19 SciMathUS candidates graduating in this week’s autumn graduation series will receive degrees from the faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, Theology, Medicine and Health Sciences, Science, and Economic and Management Sciences respectively.
“It has been a challenging few years, but I believe SciMathUS has helped me deal with all the challenges that came with my studies,” says Kaythlynne Koopman, who joined the programme in 2017 and will receive her BCom in Industrial Psychology.
To Yonwaba Mfengwana too, SciMathUS has been an integral part of her academic and professional success. Excited to be awarded her MPhil in Development Finance from the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), she says: “I joined SciMathUS in 2010, following my matric year, when I discovered that I could not pursue my intended course due to my Mathematics marks. Since then, I have obtained my CA(SA) qualification, and now I’m receiving my Master’s.” But SciMathUS has also been much more than an academic enabler: “Besides the academic tools that the programme has given me, I have learnt valuable life and study skills, which will continue to help me in my professional career. And I have made lifelong friends whom I can call on.”
“Graduation is a time for celebration and joy for any student, but the graduation of SciMathUS students also brings hope that their lives will change for the better,” says Nokwanda Siyengo, SciMathUS director. “Congratulations to the autumn graduates for having achieved the goals they had set for themselves at the start of their journey at the University.
“Many of these students have been the first in their families to enter tertiary studies. They have successfully navigated the territory of higher education and can now explore the future on an equal footing with other graduates,” Siyengo adds. “It is always heart-warming to see how the students evolve into confident, responsible citizens, ready to take on the world and win.”
Siyengo is equally proud of the way in which SciMathUS itself has developed over the past 21 years. “We started as a bridging programme, then became an access programme, and now we’re a full-blown university preparation programme. These changes occurred because of the need to enable students to be more competitive and complete their studies,” she explains.
This year, 130 new students were selected to join SciMathUS. “There will always be a need for the programme,” Siyengo concludes, “because students continue to highlight the benefits it brings, and how it helps them during their studies.”
* The SciMathUS graduates of April 2022 are as follows:
- Heinrich Paulse (BTh III)
- Lebo Sibulele Sinuka (BA Social Science)
- Retshegofaditswe Boutlwanye (BSc Food Science)
- Ethan van Wyk (BSc Forestry and Wood Sciences)
- Rene Louw (BSc Sport Science)
- Adriette Johnson (MBChB)
- Mokwale Moswane (BSc Mathematical Sciences)
- Landiwe Mahlangu (BSc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology)
- Casey Walbrugh (BSc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology)
- Matilda Samuels (MBA)
- Yonwaba Mfengwana (MPhil Development Finance)
- Robert Zingela (B Accounting)
- Jonathan Cloete (B Accounting)
- Raeeza Fagodien (B Accounting)
- Loren Wessels (BCom Management Sciences)
- Kaythlynne Koopman (BCom Industrial Psychology)
- Sinalithemba Mbungu (BCom Management Accounting)
- Grant Duimpies (BCom Management Accounting)
- Thandolwethu Zithabile Ngonyama (BCom Management Sciences)