• DUT Alumni

CUM LAUDE REASSURED ME THAT I AM CAPABLE OF EXCELLING IN ANY RESEARCH FIELD AS LONG AS I GIVE MYSELF


The Durban University of Technology (DUT) student, Andile Khanyile was honoured with Cum Laude for her Master’s Degree in Chemistry at the DUT 2022 Spring Graduation which was held at the Durban Exhibition Centre on Thursday, 29 September 2022.

Her fondness for pursuing her profession was driven by the acne she suffered from and also the love of body care products and further wanted to be a dermatologist.


“I wanted to be a dermatologist because I had acne and love body care products, since all skin care products have the sign recommended by dermatologists. I thought a dermatologist is someone who makes cosmetics, I wanted to make my skincare products so bad because I was tired of mixing and matching products. However, through career exposure, I was exposed to what a dermatologist is and learnt that what I wanted to do was cosmetology,” explained Khanyile.


Khanyile’s academic journey at DUT commenced in 2016 when she initially enrolled for the National Diploma in Analytical Chemistry. She had hope of studying a cosmetology course however she was directed to the Chemistry department under the faculty of Applied Sciences. She was ecstatic during her in-service training time where she discovered so much about her profession and received intense knowledge within her field of study, and while training she won the best oral presentation for chemistry project she was conducting.


“I then came to DUT looking for cosmetology, but I got directed to the chemistry department. God’s grace I did my in-service training with a cosmetic company where I learned a lot about the pros and cons of formulating a cosmetic product. One of my roles was to assist the formulation R&D manager with testing alternative raw materials and adjusting product specifications. During that year I won the best oral presentation for the chemistry project I did at the company I was working for,” said the proud Khanyile.


Thereafter obtaining her first qualification she furthered her studies to a degree level mostly known as the Bachelor of Technology Degree (BTech), she indicated that by pursuing the BTech degree level was a form of improving her research skills and when she completed her BTech Degree she was chosen to be part of the Golden Key Society.

Moreover, she expressed how she felt about the news of her prestigious acknowledgment towards her studies and provided a brief description of what her research entailed.


“I am thrilled to graduate Cum Laude with my master’s degree in chemistry, for my research that explored the extraction of lipophilic compounds from lignocellulosic biomass using a Supercritical fluid extractor and accelerated solvent extractor. The study focused on comparing the efficiency of the two techniques as green techniques and using an environmentally friendly solvent to extract the lipophilic compounds which have found value in industries such as pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and medicinal,” said the ecstatic Khanyile.


Initially, Khanyile had planned to conduct her Masters’ degree research in formulation or drug synthesis, however life directed her to a different path though she was incredibly surrounded by engineers from CSIR whom where something from what she wanted.

“I had planned to do my master’s’ degree in formulation or drug synthesis, but God redirected me to the CSIR where I was surrounded by incredible engineers doing something different from what I wanted, explained Khanyile.


During her studies she encountered some challenges but that didn’t deter her vision, in fact she was even more propelled to accomplish her academic goal and also the help of the constant support she received from her family and friends.


“It is such a blessing to have obtained my Masters’ degree Cum Laude. Struggling with anemia and endometriosis did not make the journey as enjoyable as I constantly had to spend some time at the hospital and also be up to date with my schoolwork, which affected my mental health negatively. However, with a good support system by my side, I managed to pull through. I am grateful for my family, friends, therapist, partner, and colleagues obtaining Cum laude was a true reflection of the kind of support system I have by my side. I could not have done it without them reassuring me that I have this, and I am thankful to the almighty for giving me the strength to carry out my research work despite my health challenges,” said the thankful Khanyile


She considers her mother as her inspiration and her PhD co-supervisor Dr Ntola, “I Draw inspiration from my mom and my PhD co-supervisor Dr Ntola, their stories made me believe that I can achieve anything I put my mind to as long as I am willing to put in the work. In addition, obtaining a Cum laude pass reassured me that I am capable of excelling in any research field as long as I give myself enough grace,” said Khanyile.

The Master’s graduate is currently doing her PhD in a new research field (Catalysis)


Pictured: Andile Khanyile

Nonkululeko Ngcobo

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