National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Mari-Alet Smit

Mari-Alet is from the Western Cape and is studying for a BSc Eng (Chemical Engineering) at Stellenbosch University.

“Another reason I chose engineering as my study field is because there are so many work opportunities in a developing country like South Africa.”

Who or what inspired you to study engineering?

I decided to study engineering because I love mathematics and science and want to use these fields in my career after I graduate. Engineering offers so many different opportunities and fields to specialize and work in that would give me the ability to find something that really interests me. Another reason I chose engineering as my study field is because there are so many work opportunities in a developing country like South Africa. At the same time, the degree at Stellenbosch University will also offer me the possibility to work oversees if I want to for a period of time.

How did you manage to get such outstanding results in Grade 12?

I want to thank a lot of people that helped me and supported me during my school career and made it possible for me to achieve the marks that I did. My parents were really supportive during my matric year and especially through the exams, always being there if I needed encouragement to keep on studying for those last few papers. I had the privilege of being in an amazing school – Point High School in Mossel Bay, in the Western Cape – with dedicated teachers that prepared us so well for the November exams. My teachers really put a lot of effort in to prepare us the best they possibly could and I am really grateful for that. Point High School also gave me so many opportunities to make great memories and friends that I love dearly and will remember fondly for the rest of my life. Besides all the people that encouraged me, I think the most important part of achieving academically lies in the hard work you put in. I am a hardworking person that always tries to give my best in whatever I do and I always try to compete only against myself and not other people.

What are your career plans?

At this stage I am not completely sure yet what I want to do or in what specific field I want to work after I have finished my studies at Stellenbosch University. I still have the next three years to see what really interests me the most and what field I want to specialise in. I think I would most likely decide between work in the pharmaceutical industry or environmental engineering.

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