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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

Postgraduate student to conduct research on maize quality at Michigan State University
2017-03-27

Description: Student maze research Tags: Student maze research

Schae-Lee Olckers, master’s student in the
Department of Microbial Biochemical and
Food Biotechnology.
Photo: Supplied

Schae-Lee Olckers, a master’s student in the Department of Microbial Biochemical and Food Biotechnology at the University of the Free State (UFS), will be travelling to the US in a few weeks’ time. For the next two years she will be doing research at the Michigan State University (MSU) at its Department of Food Science, working on wheat quality and its baking properties.

Increase the nutritional value of maize
The title of her master’s research project is: “The influence of low and optimal nitrogen conditions on the nutritional value of quality protein maize”. She is focusing on the influence of environmental conditions on the nutritional value of maize.

New hybrids of maize production developed

Olckers said: “I chose to start my research on this specific topic in my honours year because maize is the main staple crop in South Africa, as well as in the rest of Africa. Therefore, micronutrient malnutrition is a major concern for developing countries as well as for poor people who rely on it as a major food source. I found it interesting that these breeding programmes that are being developed for new hybrids of maize for production are focusing on increasing the nutritional value of maize and can therefore help eliminate micronutrient malnutrition in some populations of poor communities,” she said.

Prof Perry Ng will be her research supervisor. He is an affiliated professor at UFS in the division of Plant Breeding. “I am very excited about the opportunity to travel and to gain experience working with a well-known cereal scientist. The work he does is also closely associated with my research,” said Olckers.

Her supervisors at UFS are Profs Garry Osthoff and Maryke Labuschagne from the Departments of Microbial Biochemical and Food Biotechnology and Plant Sciences respectively.

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