Dr Mamoeletsi Mosia is a passionate advocate for encouraging more young people to explore careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and innovation (STEMI).
“The country needs more scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs in order for us to fight poverty and unemployment,” says Mosia, an Expo for Young Scientists board member and the Managing Director of the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), a business unit of the National Research Foundation (NRF), and is responsible for the advancement of public awareness, appreciation and engagement of STEMI in South Africa.
“We need more innovators and STEMI entrepreneurs who will create unique products and open companies that will employ more young people and change the economy of the country,” she adds.
Mosia, who holds a PhD in Chemistry from the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands and an MCom in Leadership Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, has a wealth of experience in management and leadership. She spent over a decade in various roles at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), where she demonstrated her ability to provide strategic leadership to multidisciplinary teams.
Growing up in Soweto as the only daughter among five children, Mosia excelled in mathematics and science during her high school years, consistently ranking as one of the top students in her class.
“When I had to make subject choices in grade 10, I chose mathematics and science instead of accounting. When it was time to choose a degree to study for in university, I opted for a Bachelor of Science (BSc), instead of the conventional Bachelor of Medicine degree (back then learners who were good in science were expected to take Medicine), says Mosia.
“Interestingly, I was not keen on engineering. My mother wanted me to be a pharmacist, but I was more interested in making the medication than dispensing it (that is how the pharmacist explained the difference between a pharmacist and a chemist to me),” she adds.
As a life-long learner, Mosia has obtained a number of qualifications, including: BSc (Chemistry and Applied Chemistry) from Natal University; BSc Honours (Chemistry) from Natal University; Master of Science (MSc) (Chemistry) from (Natal University); Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) (Polymer Chemistry) from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands; Master in Commerce (MCom) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal; and is currently busy with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours in Psychology at UNISA).
A lover of reading and with aspirations to become an author, Mosia has taken a keen interest in the work of Eskom Expo, particularly in the areas of research and capacity building. One Expo winner who left a lasting impression on her and drew her attention to the Expo was Siyabulela Xuza.
Eskom Expo alumnus Siyabulela Xuza, an inventor of safe and affordable rocket fuel and a graduate of Harvard University, has also made significant advancements in micro-fuel cell technology. In 2006, his research project won a gold medal at the Eskom Expo International Science Fair, which earned him the opportunity to present his work to the Swedish king and queen at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Sweden.
“I still remember his work, and have invited him a number of times to interact with young researchers in my previous job,” says Mosia, who joined the Expo board in early 2022 where she represents NRF-SAASTA as a strategic partner.
“I believe that I would not have achieved most of what I have achieved if I had not followed a STEMI career. For me, I use any opportunity I get to expose more learners to careers in STEMI. I am looking forward to contributing towards the growth of Eskom Expo,” she concludes.
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