SINESIPHO MBANGU

MANY Stellenbosch University (SU) undergraduates are interested in postgraduate studies but might be unaware of what is expected of them if they further their studies. Russel Botman House and the Wimbledon Cluster have collaborated to present the Academic Principal Program Research Colloquium Series, an event that gives master’s students at SU a practice run at presenting their research project by sharing it with all students.

Helia Witbooi, SU student and Wimbledon cluster convener, said the purpose of the event was for undergraduates to learn more about the research that postgraduate students do, and to give postgraduate students input and feedback from students about their research. “The event encourages people to go further than their undergrad- uate and learn more about how research is done,”

Witbooi says. Thabani Mtsi, SU student and Wim- bledon cluster convener alongside Witbooi, said the event gave the presenters an external eye to what they are subjectively involved in. “At the event, the audience is given a feedback sheet which rates the speaker on their speaking abilities, how clear their content is, how well they project the message and how understandable their content is,” Mtsi said.

“After they RSVP, the audience are given a link which allows them access to the abstract of those that are presenting so they know what to expect from the presenter and they can prepare questions that they might want to ask the presenters after their presentation.”

“When you are in the work- place, we need to sell our ideas to a wide range of people and this event will help to sharpen your skills to do so,” Mtsi said. Andreas Werle van der Merwe is part of the Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering department, and the title of his project is “Investigating the Evolution of Modularity in Neural Networks.” Van der Merwe said he enjoyed presenting – the discussion was lively and fellow presenters delivered quality advice.

According to him, the audience consisted of a healthy mixture of students from science, technology, engineering, mathematics and humanities backgrounds. Witbooi said in efforts not to make other residences and PSOs feel excluded, they are planning to widen the community by collaborating with other residences and PSOs to open a network and communication in the community.

“This event will address social wellness, intellectual wellness, and occupational wellness. This will foster the development of all students in a holistic manner,” Mtsi said.