Nelson Mandela of Science to Lead South Africa’s Development
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- Registration Date : 2014-05-19
After graduating from college, I was working at the National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA) in charge of gas analysis. I had a chance to attend an international symposium held in Colorado, US, where doctors from standards institutions all over the world got together. There, I met my current supervisor, Prof. Kim Jin-Seok by chance.
From my conversation with Prof. Kim, I learned that UST is operating an education system that is mutually affiliated with KRISS. I was already well aware of the high reputation of KRISS, and Prof. Kim strongly suggested that I should apply for UST, telling me that I would be able to perform more diverse research there. That’s how I decided to study in Korea.
I am working on gas analysis that is used to establish standards for concentration of elements comprising gas. For instance, I measure concentrations of inert gases like argon (Ar), neon (Ne), krypton (Kr), xenon (Xe), and helium (He), and determine their standard concentrations.
These standards determined at KRISS are recognized as national standards, and are used as the basis for companies to measure elements comprising gas. KRISS also manufactures and supplies standard gases to be used by businesses to correct various analyzers or for the purpose of process management and quality control.
It was a little difficult at first due to the cold weather, because in South Africa, the temperature never goes below 10℃, even during winter. But now I’m fully settled. I love Korean food, too. My favorite is beef shabu shabu, bibimbap and chicken.
Also, when I feel lonely, I find peace at the church. The first place I went to after arriving in Korea was a church. Now I go to a church near KRISS where there is a group for foreigners.
Two of the members are from South Africa. One is studying at KAIST and the other one teaches English.
Speaking of which, I actually met my wife at a church back in South Africa. It was love at first sight for me, and we dated for four years before we finally got married.
I get along with Korean students mainly through soccer. I’m a huge soccer fan. I try to get as much time as possible from my lunch break to play soccer. My position is a defender.
The UST Korean Culture Experience program has been the most special experience for me. The participants made Jeonju bibimbap, and I really liked it because I was making one of the most representative traditional Korean foods with my own hands!
The UST Conference in September was also quite memorable. That is because I presented my research outcomes in front of many students and even won an award. The research theme was precision-separation and analysis of a mixed gas. In this research, I used gas chromatography (GC) to analyze properties of 99% pure helium, and impurities were tested using this analysis.
Science is another name for challenge. I decided to study science because I was interested in achieving results through challenge. I want to build a family in the science field of South Africa and become a father whom my son can be proud of. I am, of course, hoping to contribute to my country’s development as well.
I decided to pursue science as my future profession when I was in grade 10. At the time, the social atmosphere changed dramatically after the late president Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Schools for black people had only taught basic science up until then. But after his release, black people too could have access to advanced science. In other words, black people were given freedom to study for the first time.
I thought hard about what I can do for my country just like President Mandela and science was the answer to my question. I am not a Mandela kid, since I was not born in 1994, but I am a beneficiary of his deeds. So in a way, I can call myself a Mandela kid. Without him, I would have never dreamed of studying at college.
The benefits continued even after I entered college. I had to take one year off from college because I couldn't pay for my studies, but I was able to graduate in the end thanks to financial assistance. This was something we couldn't even imagine previously.
It is excellent beyond comparison. In particular, KRISS is a research institute with global authority in the fields of standards and measurement. I can see and learn a lot more here.
UST has a unique system in which students can learn by actually working at research institutes. Students can learn from professors who have the greatest research achievements in their respective fields.
UST’s another advantage is that we can interact with various kinds of people as we are working together face-to-face with researchers at these institutes. Financial assistance for training and other forms of financial aid are quite generous as well, helping students focus only on their research at hand.
I would strongly recommend UST to foreign students considering to study here.
My primary goal is to obtain my doctoral degree and go back to South Africa as early as I can. The minimum years required for graduation is four years, so I hope to complete my degree within this period. To that end, I should my dissertation within the two years I have left.
Afterwards, I want to return to NMISA and have a solid position in the field of gas measurement, and contribute to my country’s development. Oh, and I will serve as the ambassador for UST as well, by promoting UST to aspiring scientists in neighboring countries like Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. I hope I can serve as a bridge between Africa and UST.