Alumni Magazine #5_July 2020_single pages web

brother. During his free time, he plans adventures, sketches ideas, and designs, and gives it his all at any of his many pastimes. “Pushing my abilities gives me a great sense of freedom, and I enjoy the challenges it presents.” He has found inspiration in his parents. “They have always been supportive and work hard. I’m also inspired by a lot of adventurous people who have accomplished feats that most people would not even consider doing – and they have inspired me to seek challenges and adventures to better and test myself.” Mechanical engineering and the science behind it are essential, says Matthew. “Mining and industry are just two examples of large economical behemoths that are influenced by the engineering machines and the solutions currently available. Mechanical engineers provide, maintain, and improve these solutions with the aim of improving both efficiency and economic feasibility.” Here, he says, lies the opportunity for mechanical engineers – and it’s a golden one indeed.

Slabbert says that he chose engineering because it allows him to apply knowledge to solve real problems and improve existing solutions. Engineering, he says, also gave him a unique opportunity to further his studies once the initial degree is counted as a success. Initial interest in robotics, engineering, and science began at an early age for Slabbert as a student schooled at home, with the option of choosing courses to spark his interest in robotics and engineering for the first time. Today, he hopes to seek more challenges for which practical solutions can be found through engineering and robotics. “I enjoy the creativity and challenge that design offers,” he says. “I have designed components for my workshop at home and around the house, which has been a great way to implement and use some of my skills.” Slabbert happens to have many other interests, including adventures, fitness, pencil drawings, and knifemaking – a hobby that he shares with his

master’s degree and professional engineering training.” Presenting his speech at the 2019 prestigious evening for his faculty, he says it forced him to reflect on the failures and successes up to this point in his career so far – and if anything, it has revealed the importance of achieving a careful balance in all things. He says that innovation is one of the most important factors for achieving success in today’s world. “We live in a world where technology is all around us, yet there are still many problems that have not been solved. Innovative solutions could help lead the world into a better future with greener engineering solutions with positive social impacts.” “Hard work yields good results, which has stood me good stead in terms of securing a job. Having put in the effort required to get this far could open doors for me in the future – and being able to add this prize to my CV will give future employers an insight into my work ethic.”

Shene de Rijk: Increasing the Reach of Helpful Mental Healthcare

Faculty of Humanities Faculty Prize for the Most Prestigious Undergraduate Student for 2019

For Shene de Rijk, the choice to study psychology was partially personal. “I chose the psychology degree after having experienced mental health problems myself. After completing my first round of studies and teaching for three

years, I suffered from severe burnout and depression – and this highlighted the importance of both psychology and the real need in our country for more trained professionals.”

“I have first-hand experience of the instrumental and crucial role that therapy can play, not only in healing but also in becoming more authentic,” says De Rijk. “South Africa has a very high incidence of violence – and if there were more



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