Chemistry may have been the bane of her childhood, but with a PhD in the field, Natasha Ross can finally proclaim to have conquered her scholastic nemesis. The Kuils River native is the first university graduate in her family. Through lecturing and the work of her Akeelah Foundation, she aims to teach students how chemistry can be used to improve their quality of life. This pragmatism behind her passion influences her research work, too. Ross’s focus on renewable energy sources is geared towards replacing costly materials with cheaper alternatives to make electricity more easily accessible for all South Africans. She is also committed to using her platform to tackle gender inequality and enhance women’s economic security. Through her community engagement projects, she seeks to inspire more women students of colour to pursue postgraduate studies and careers in the spheres of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Helping people meaningfully reach their human potential is what gets me excited