Outstanding intellect, character, leadership, and a commitment to service.
These are the qualities that have won five UCT graduates Rhodes Scholarships to conduct postgraduate study at the University of Oxford.
The five, among a tally of 11 South African recipients for 2014, are Paul Amayo (Bachelor of Science and Engineering in Mechatronics, 2013); Matthew Davey (Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, 2012); Nicholas Dowdall (Bachelor of Social Sciences in Psychology, Economics and Spanish, 2013); Simon Mendelsohn (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, 2011); and Vuyane Mhlomi (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, 2011).
They are among a broader annual class of 83 scholars for 2014, selected from institutions around the globe.
Established in 1903 under the will of Cecil Rhodes, the Scholarship is the oldest −and one of the most prestigious − international graduate scholarship programmes in the world.
Rhodes Scholars are chosen for their potential to become 'leaders for the world's future' able to '˜fight' the world's fight' and promote international understanding and peace.
Amayo, Davey, Dowdall, Mendelsohn and Mhlomi are all exceptional student leaders.
Winner of the Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment Scholarship in 2012, Amayo tutors and mentors students in the Department of Electrical Engineering and during his vacations has undertaken research at UCT's Control Laboratory, as well as at the University of Nairobi's Electrical Engineering Department. He is a member of Engineers without Borders, which brings technology to less privileged areas. Amayo plans to continue his work on robotics at Oxford. Longer-term, his goal is to establish the first robotics research laboratory in Kenya.
Davey won the Aurecon Gold Award and the Cape Town Corporation Medal for the best academic achievement in civil engineering. He also won the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction Prize for his work on wind turbine support structures. He has worked as a civil/environmental engineer for water management projects on mines in South Africa, focusing on the reinstatement of rivers in previously mined land. He served as vice-chairperson of the UCT Mountain and Ski Club and was involved in Siyenyuka, the club's outreach programme. He is committed to improving water access, security and resource management in Southern Africa.
Prior to coming to UCT, Dowdall won a bursary to study Spanish at the University of Buenos Aires. He spent his second year at UCT at Boston College, US, on a Heritage Exchange Scholarship. He has attended two major summits in the role of project leader and delegate at the Desmond Tutu Youth Peace Summit and the Brightest Young Minds Summit. A Black Belt in Kyokushin Karate, he has represented South Africa twice at the World Championships. After completing his honours degree (psychology), he will read for an MSc in Evidence-based Social Intervention and Policy at Oxford, and hopes to work at the interface of academia and the NGO sector to help solve the country's social problems.
Mendelsohn is completing his medical internship in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. While at UCT he devoted six years to the Students' Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (SHAWCO), which runs free primary health care clinics, as well as skills development and education programmes in underserved communities around the Cape peninsula. He was awarded the university's premier award for student leadership and community service: the Vice-Chancellor's Student Leader Award. His previous research has explored the role of situated learning '“ learning outside the classroom '“ in medical education. Mendelsohn intends pursuing a career in public healthcare management and policy, with a focus on equality and access.
Mhlomi won the Kerry Capstick-Dale Memorial Scholarship, the Ackerman Family Foundation Award for outstanding leadership, and the Most Outstanding Student Leader Award in Undergraduate Faculty Council for his role as chairperson of the Health Sciences' Faculty Council. In June 2013, he featured in the Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South Africans and South African Medical Association'“Bonitas Young Leaders Award. He is founder and managing director of the MH Foundation '“ an organisation that enables disadvantaged children to fulfil their potential. He is keen to change the face of cardiovascular medicine, and provide a more practical approach to healthcare challenges in South Africa.
Story by Helen Swingler. Image supplied.
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