A Science Career Day held in the Neelsie, and organised by the Natural Science Student Committee (NSC), gave Stellenbosch students a chance to ask top science-related companies their questions.
The NSC’s goal in organising the event, which was held on 4 August, was to give science students who “don’t know where to go and what to do after graduation” exposure to opportunities, said Felicia Kubheka, a committee member.
“A lot of students are not really educated on the careers that are available,” said Kubheka. She added that “there are many streams in science” and that a “career in science is a very broad concept”.
The companies represented at the Science Career Day ranged from those focused on human health, such as HealthQ Technologies, to those focused on environmental conservation, such as SANBI or SANPark.
A wide range of qualifications, such as Sports Science, Engineering or Analytical Mathematics degrees, are welcome in the field of science, according to Claire Opperman, a representative for HealthQ Technologies.
The company, which develops “algorithms for wearable fitness watches was started 8 years ago by a group of three Stellenbosch Students doing their PhD”. She added that they are “constantly looking for interns” and that most of their positions are filled by Stellenbosch graduates.
Vastech, a communications and intelligence company, exposed students to the possibility of using their qualifications to create software that solves real-world problems, like drug smuggling, human trafficking or terrorism.
Bertram Broberg, a Vastech representative, advised that “students who have studied a degree like computer science but don’t know what do with it must be exposed through experience” to a career in science by interning, job shadowing or volunteering at companies.
Multinational corporations, like the pharmaceutical giants Cipla and Roche, were also represented at the Science Career Day.
Richard McMillen, a Cipla representative, explained that the pharmaceutical market was “very competitive and quite saturated”. He added that a key characteristic for success in the field of science was “flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing situations”.
McMillen’s advice to students striving for a career in science is to have vision. “They must have vision past their degree, follow what they’re good at and really apply themselves”. – Holly Charlton