Stephanie de Rapper is an academic at the department of pharmacy and pharmacology at Wits and has a reputation for hard work and inspiring others. She co-developed an initiative known as INVEST — a pharmacy career mentorship programme that exposes undergraduate students to different career choices. She also won the Faculty Mentorship Award 2017, joined the Young Pharmacists Group of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa as a member of the steering committee, and targets young girls in underprivileged societies to achieve their potential. It’s a mouthful, but then so is her commitment to changing the lives of others through her career.
“During my undergraduate studies I was afforded the opportunity to do research under the supervision of a leading female academic, Professor Sandy van Vuuren,” says de Rapper. “It was one of those ‘stars have aligned’ opportunities that I will always be grateful for. I completed my master’s in 2013, then went on to join the University of the Witwatersrand and registered for my PhD.”
In the years de Rapper has been in academia she has presented at a number of conferences, including the most recent conference hosted in Bonn, Germany, in which she presented on the concepts of synergy among natural products. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and continues to aim to improve on her understanding of natural products and their collective traditional use.
“I have a deep and profound love for my profession and all those who work within it. In my final undergraduate year, I was awarded the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa Southern Gauteng Branch Award for commitment to the profession,” she says. “On returning to the university in the capacity of staff rather than student, I hoped that I would inspire my students to feel the same immense love and dedication to the promotion of pharmacy. In order to cement this, my colleague, Rubina Shaikh, and I developed INVEST.”
For de Rapper it is her students, the profession, academic research and the promotion of all three that are her greatest joy. She is constantly inspired by her career choice and the ppportunities she has to use her career to help others achieve their own professional dreams. — Tamsin Oxford