Don’t tell Dr Tebogo Mashifana (31) that engineering is only for men! This senior lecturer and researcher in the faculty of engineering at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has already achieved her doctoral degree from UJ, a MBA from Regent Business School and is currently studying for her postgraduate diploma in higher education. Passionate about finding solutions to the challenges that affect environmental pollution, Mashifana is committed to community, people and the future.
“I am learning every single day that I need to share, transfer the skills and the knowledge that I have acquired to those I meet. I have seen these skills transferred to the students I teach and I could not trade that experience for anything. As a researcher, I am given the opportunity to investigate solutions to some of the challenges that this country is facing. It is what I love doing,” she says.
For Mashifana, it is critical that she invest her time and effort into developing value-added products that can address the human settlement and unemployment challenges. She works on community development projects and motivates young people, mostly young women and girls, to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“My family inspires me a great deal – the joy and pride my parents have every time I share a milestone is something that keeps me going,” she says.
One of the people who has most motivated and helped Mashifana on her journey is her husband, Kgaogelo Mashifana. She describes him as her greatest motivator and someone who makes her journey bearable. “He always says to me ‘we will support you’ and I know he really does,” she adds.
“I have come to learn that there are young people who look up to me and because of that I am always walking the extra mile, working a little harder. I want to show them that they can achieve anything they want. My advice to those who want to achieve success is to grab opportunities with both hands. It is one thing to dream, another to do something about it.” — Tamsin Oxford
LinkedIn: Tebogo Mashifana