Microscope donation helps learners to access the wonders of natural science

2 December 2019 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo Leonie Bolleurs

With a donation of microscopes, the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology at the University of the Free State (UFS) recently contributed to better quality education for a group of 60 learners in the Life Sciences class at the Luckhoff Combined School.

Anzell Spelding, a teacher at the school – with a newly built science laboratory but little equipment – contacted the department a while ago to enquire whether they have any microscopes available to donate. As the department recently acquired a new set of microscopes for undergraduate teaching in the field of Microbiology, ten fully functional microscopes and two other microscopes (for parts) were donated to motivate the learners to choose science as a career.

“This donation puts scientific instruments in the hands of children at an early age, opening their eyes to the possibility of careers in science. Exposing learners to science at an early age can spark enthusiasm and a love of learning that might otherwise never appear,” said Koos Albertyn, Professor in the UFS Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology.

“These microscopes will enable learners to look at specimens at a microscopic level and therefore access the wonders of natural science at the tiniest and most fascinating level,” he added.


Microscope donation

Prof Koos Albertyn handing over a donation of eleven microscopes to Anzell Spelding, a teacher at Luckhoff Combined School.

Goodbye but not farewell

29 November 2019 | Story Laurinda Steyn | Photos Laurinda Steyn

It is hard to say goodbye to colleagues who have been less like co-workers and more like friends. They may not be among us tomorrow, but their wisdom will remain. They are off to a next big challenge!

Prof Angel Valverde Portal
joined the department as a senior researcher in July 2017. In June 2018 he was appointed Associate Professor in Microbiology. As an affiliate professor, he will still be involved with research at the University of the Free State. He is returning to Spain to join the Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology of Seville (IRNAS) as a researcher.

Dr Charlotte Boucher was in the department from 2004. First as a BSc honours student, later appointed as a junior lecturer in 2010, and then lecturer in 2015. She was a member of Vice-Chancellor’s Prestige Scholar programme (2015-2017). Charlotte will still be involved with research in the department as an affiliate researcher. She is pursuing her life-long dream and starting MBChB.

Goodbye Angel

Goodbye Charlotte

Prof Martie Smit wishing Prof Angel Valverde and Dr Charlotte Boucher the best for their new challenges.

FameLab Talks Science

14 November 2019 | Photo Supplied

Soveij van der Schyff (MSc student) was first runner-up during the FameLab in South Africa's 2019/2020 Free State heat, held at UFS. FameLab is an international competition designed to engage and entertain by challenging young scientists to communicate their science to a public audience in under 3 minutes. Talks are fun and engaging, making science relevant to everyone, without using jargon or formal presentations. Talks are judged on content, clarity and charisma. FameLab is one of the biggest science communication competitions in the world initiated by the British Council, with more than 30 participating countries globally.

Soveij FameLab

UFS-supported studentpreneur excels at Entrepreneurship Intervarsity

22 October 2019 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo Supplied

With the mission of representing the UFS and LiquidCulture on a national platform, Christopher Rothmann (final-year PhD) entered this year’s national Entrepreneurship Intervarsity competition, supported by Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE), in collaboration with the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation.

Rothmann was awarded joint runner-up position in the Existing Tech Business category. According to Dr Norah Clarke, Director: Entrepreneurship at Universities South Africa and the Department of Higher Education and Training, second places were not announced or awarded in any other category, but based on the particularly small difference between the judges’ scores for the top-three finalists in this category, together with the high quality of the top-three businesses, an exception was made in this category.

All 26 public universities were represented in the 1155 entries received, with the top 16 universities represented by 27 finalists in the national finals.



Faculty Manager: Velaphi Makgwahla
T: + 27 51 401 3199
E: makgwahlamvt@ufs.ac.za

Marketing Manager: Elfrieda Lötter
T: +27 51 401 2531
E: lottere@ufs.ac.za

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