Bsc Life Science to Msc Agricultural science
Name: Mishumo Nemathaga
Course :Masters of Science in Agriculture candidate
A levels/ equivalent :National Senior Certificate (Life Science, Physical Science, Geography, Mathematics and English)
Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences (Microbiology and Zoology stream)
Honours in Life Sciences (Microbiology stream)
Favourite science fact: Microbes are 10 times more than the number of human cells in a living human.
Journey in 3 Words : Purposeful, Inspirational, maturing
Briefly describe your role or course
I am currently a Masters candidate at the University of South Africa focusing on Animal sciences. My research is on Ascaridia galli parasitic roundworms that cause fatal diseases in chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus). My research work will help provide healthy food to rural communities that rely on poultry for their livelihood, and furthermore contribute to the global goal of combating hunger in Africa.
What motivated you to pursue a career in science?
My primary education really shaped me and introduced me to subjects that opened my young mind. My love for science started when I was in primary school (Grade 6). I really enjoyed the lessons and mini-projects that I had to do during my Life Science and Technology classes. I started to have a greater interest in Life Science as a subject. The mini-projects that the teacher gave of mammals, reptiles and the ecosystem gave me a reason to find myself searching the internet looking for the meaning of life sciences. Internet Explorer gave me a definition that changed my future goal, dreams and desires forever. The explanation spoke of living things and even gave examples of animals and small organisms. I continued to search until I saw the word “biologist” and the definition fascinated me so much. I decided then and there that when I am grown up, I want to become a biologist. I went home that day and told my mom about my ambition. The reason why I pursued an academic journey in microbiology, zoology and even agriculture was due to my 12 year-old self!T I stepped out in faith and walked into the unknown, my courage, ambition and drive for something challenging brought me this far and I hope that my story will give a young girl child the ability to see a scientist in herself because it is possible.
What advice would you give someone wanting to study the same degree?
I have come across so many challenges and also found myself in situations that would force me to question my academic choices but I always told myself “fail but never fail to try again”. Take the journey with an open mind and willingness to learn from your mistakes. It is also important to know that challenges are there to make you stronger. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Set goals, aspirations, interests and values and follow them. In the STEM world we learn from those who pursued it before us, they are the best mentors. Also remember that we make academic choices on a daily basis so don’t be afraid to aim for greater heights (don’t limit yourself).
What do you enjoy the most about your masters course ?
I am conducting research that will contribute positively to the global goal of combating hunger and my research will impact rural areas and empower farmers. I enjoy the fact that my research is not only for my gain, but for a global contribution. I have a passion to make a difference in Africa through research and more research, and I believe that success doesn't compare to making a generational difference.
What advice would you give on dealing with rejection and perseverance?
I have personally learnt that rejections don't define you, self-growth does. With every rejection redefine yourself, redefine your surroundings and learn that you are stronger.
We all know that perseverance is the mother of success. Furthermore the reason why it is a virtue is because perseverance is a strength within courage followed by bravery, honesty, and zest. Believe in yourself and your abilities and GO FOR IT (zest), remember that you are intelligent and a force to be reckoned with (bravery) work hard and never be afraid to ask questions, you can never live long enough to know everything (honesty) and most importantly always remember that in the STEM world we learn from those who pursued it before us they are the greatest mentors so “persevere’.
What is your biggest pet peeve about how the world perceives science ?
That science is for nerds. I have personally experienced the nerd stigma throughout my academic journey. It's very interesting how people actually think that as a scientist you should know everything under the sun.
Outside science how would you describe yourself ?
I'm a very spiritual person, I come from a Christian family. I describe myself outside of Science as a worshipper and a very loving person. I mostly put others before me, I love the feeling of seeing people around me happy. I am an introvert which is sometimes shocking to other people because I'm very outspoken, but I prefer peace and quiet and my own space.
You run a STEM facebook page, what motivated that and how has that impacted your science career?
Motivation has come from my journey as a scientist, the challenging moments and days that made me feel like giving up motivated me. I am a Fellow of an organization called Black Women in Science that aims to expose female emerging researchers to research opportunities and science platforms and when I joined the fellowship I wanted to find myself in stimulating environments that had women that walked a similar journey as mine. An environment that would recognize me as a scientist and also provide me with opportunities
This organization has given me a better perspective of the STEM world and how unequal it is when it comes to black women. From this journey I have become inspired to create a “let’s have a moment of science” platform that will encourage and impart an interest of the science world to a rural learner. Free Science aspires to deliver mentorship that will encourage great passion for science and break down misconceptions and barriers that surround science.
The impact that my page has in my science career is very positive as I find myself assisting undergraduates and senior phase learners through similar challenges that I faced throughout my journey. I don't try to fix everything but I try to show them that I have overcome the same obstacle, and it is possible.
a resilient scientist that's dedicated her research journey to contributing to the solidification of solutions that can impact agricultural diversity and continue to improve the lives of people equally.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In the next 5 years I see myself as Dr Mishumo Nemathaga, a resilient scientist that's dedicated her research journey to contributing to the solidification of solutions that can impact agricultural diversity and continue to improve the lives of people equally. I also see myself furthering my academic journey into pathology as my passion also lies in contributing to detection of diseases and conducting research that can prevent the spread of deadly diseases.
I furthermore believe that success doesn't compare to making a generational difference, so I would also like to inspire the next generation and become a mentor that will encourage conceptual thinkers that believe in their abilities. I want to see myself seen by others as proof that your aspirations, dreams and goals are valid.
Feel free to reach out to Mishumo on socials.
Social media handles
Facebook page link
Facebook page Free Science