Maryam Babangida Scholarship winner, Ms Stephanie Fraser.

Hard Work and Dedication Reap Reward

Bachelor of Science graduate Ms Stephanie Fraser, who is now studying for her honours degree, has been awarded the Maryam Babangida Scholarship for the best female student proceeding from undergraduate to honours study at UKZN.

The award, from an anonymous Nigerian donor, honours Dr Maryam Babangida who contributed to the improvement of living conditions of Nigerian women.

Fraser excelled in Maths and Science at Northlands Girls’ High School in Durban and continued that success at UKZN where she completed her BSc degree and is now reading for a BSc Honours in Chemistry.

She sees the ascholarship as recognition of all the hard work she has put in over the past three years which she will continue with in her pursuit of a master’s degree. Her ultimate goal is to get involved in projects that push the boundaries of knowledge for the benefit of society and the world.

‘At UKZN I have been mentored by top-quality academics who conduct research of an international standard,’ said Fraser. ‘The insight I have gained from them is invaluable. I have also been inspired by the commitment the University makes to engage in projects that promote social upliftment and give back to the community. I feel very proud to be a part of an institution that honours its responsibility to bridge the socio-economic divide and strives to provide an education to all those who are deserving.’

English teacher at Northlands Girls’ High Ms S Byrne said Fraser was good-natured and self-disciplined with a respectful attitude. ‘She is an excellent ambassador for the school through her personal and academic achievements and was highly popular among her peers and educators. It was always an absolute pleasure to teach a learner of her calibre.’

Professor Neil Koorbanally of the School of Chemistry and Physics at UKZN said: ‘Ms Stephanie Fraser has been an exemplary student throughout her studies at UKZN.  She is an amazing chemist.  Her hard work and dedication have developed her into a truly remarkable scientist who we are proud of.  She will definitely be one of the leaders of our society.’

Proud parents and UKZN alumni Dr David and Dr Leigh-Anne Fraser said: ‘Stephanie has always thrown herself fully into whatever she’s undertaken, whether it be her academics, music, sports or spiritual life – she’s a real polymath. She is acutely aware that with every blessing and gift, like her scholarship, comes a responsibility to give back to others. Stephanie is unassuming and reserved and deeply self-critical with a wickedly dry sense of humour. Her scholarship is a great source of pride, and something that encouraged her to stretch herself to live up to its high standards. We’re very proud of our daughter!’

Words: Leena Rajpal

Photograph: Supplied