MSc Microbiology graduate, Northwest University, South Africa

And - a Black Women In Science-SA fellow & PhD candidate to-be

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Mentorship and working smart is the way to go.

Boitshepo Gopane

What do you do?

My research is in the molecular microbiology stream, I am focusing on ethnopharmacology where I am researching on secondary metabolites derived from black-seeds as an alternative natural mechanism, against the combat of antibiotic resistance.

Why did you choose this field?

The love and the commitment I experienced from my life science high school teacher "Mr Seepe" made me fall in love with the subject, which made me excel and ultimately choose it when I got to the university. Evenl today I am still in love with it. To sum it all up, my university mentor Prof Thami Sithebe made me believe that the sky is the limit, and the darkest moment is just before dawn. Above all my family has been my biggest inspiration as I am the first one to have masters and going for my PhD.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

In 2019 I was awarded & recognized as (among others): the Vice-chancellor’s Award for Most Promising Student Innovation Idea “WeClean Recycling Company”; Top 18 NWU Early Career Women Scientist; Black Women in Science Group Award for Best Pitch Presentation (Eazi Waste). I am proud of my achievements and it is mainly through mentorship I got that made me achieve them all. So mentorship means everything to me.

Why do you love working in STEM?

The solutions we trying to come up with in relation to the real life problem and crisis we facing, knowing that through my research and innovation I am helping someone out there and saving the planet. I wake-up looking forward to be voice of black women who are facing difficult times in getting education and surviving in the academia world.

Best advice for next generation?

Mentorship and working smart is the way to go. Never give up on your dreams just because of your circumstances. I am talking from experience of failure and rejection but I never gave and here I am today going for my PhD. A girl from rural village who didn't have resources and bursary to study.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

"The darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn.”

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