Scholarships report

ASSA Scholarships Report for the period 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014

by Maciej Soltynski (Convenor, ASSA Scholarships Committee)

ASSA Scholarship

The ASSA Scholarship was established in 2000 to encourage the study of Astronomy at any Southern African university at the 2nd and 3rd year level. The Scholarship is funded by ASSA with occasional financial support from the ASSA Endowment Trust.

The Scholarship for 2014 was awarded to Freya Bovim, who is in the second academic year of her studies for the B.Sc. degree at UCT.

Emma Platts, who held the ASSA Scholarship in 2013, obtained her B.Sc. from UCT in three majors: applied mathematics (with distinction), astrophysics and physics. This year she is studying for her B.Sc. (Honours) in applied mathematics at UCT and is presently visiting the USA as part of the Hope-Princeton Summer exchange programme. The research topic for this programme is cosmic strings, and the aim is to update the constraints on string tension using the new ACTPol spectrum data (ACTPol is the polarization-sensitive receiver at the Atacama Cosmology Telescope).

Claire Antel (2011) is back at UCT from CERN and plans to submit her M.Sc. thesis in physics this year.

Wendy Williams (2006 and 2007), continues working towards her PhD on the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) and LOFAR observations of radio galaxies at the University of Leiden.

Dr Renée Hlozek (2005), is a Lyman Spitzer Jr. Postdoctoral Fellow in the Astrophysics department of Princeton University, and has been appointed a TED Senior Fellow for 2014 & 2015.

South African Astronomical Observatory – Astronomical Society of Southern Africa Scholarships

The purpose of the three SAAO – ASSA Scholarships is to encourage current or intending undergraduates (i.e. 1st, 2nd or 3rd year) studying for a B.Sc. degree at any university in South Africa, who have a stated interest in astronomy, to prepare for furthering their interest. The Scholarships are financed by SAAO and are administered by ASSA. The value of each Scholarship in 2014 was R12 000, up from R10 000 in 2013.

In 2014 the Scholarships were awarded to:

  • Francois Botha, who is taking astronomy, physics, mathematics and applied mathematics modules at the second year level for the B.Sc. degree at UNISA.
  • Dean De Villiers, who is undertaking physics and mathematics modules at the first year level, and astronomy, physics and mathematics modules at the second year level for the B.Sc. degree at UNISA.
  • Verlon Etsebeth, who is undertaking astronomy and mathematics modules at the second year level for the B.Sc. degree at UNISA.

Yusri Dollie (2013) continues with his B.Sc. at UCT, focusing on computer science.

Jaco Brink (2013) continues with the 3rd academic year of his B.Sc. at UNISA.

Izak van der Westhuizen(2013) obtained his B.Sc. with distinction from UFS and this year he is undertaking a B.Sc. (Honours) in astrophysics at the same university.

Mpati Ramatsoku (2007-2008) continues studying for her PhD in astronomy at the University of Groningen.

Rocco Coppejans (2008-2009) is a PhD student at Radboud University in Nijmegen working on LOFAR (Low-Frequency Array for radio astronomy).

Expression of appreciation

Dr Ian Glass, Sivuyile Manxoyi (SAAO) and Andrew Gray are thanked for their valued inputs in the evaluation and selection of candidates during the period under review. Thanks also go to the teachers and lecturers who supplied assessments of candidates. SAAO is thanked for generously making funds available for the SAAO-ASSA Scholarships.

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