Consistent hard work and a passion for Hydrology and Soil Science led to Ms Sayuri Srikissan graduating with a BSc degree cum laude while still mourning the death of her father.
Srikissan identified her father as her most important role model, whose influence enabled her to achieve what she did. ‘My father was a hard worker who laboured tirelessly to provide for his family, even after he became ill,’ she said.
Srikissan’s academic triumph is bittersweet as her father was diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure in her matric year and with heart failure during her second year at UKZN. Srikissan said that she put more effort into her studies after realising her father’s health was deteriorating as she wanted to be in a position to take over his responsibilities.
‘During the final year of my degree, my father passed away and I was at rock bottom,’ said Srikissan. ‘I am filled with mixed emotions as I have accomplished what I set out to achieve but I do not have my father to share this happy moment with me.’
Srikissan’s lecturer and academic adviser, Dr Tinisha Chetty, said: ‘I am amazed how Sayuri persevered in her studies and never lost faith in herself even in the face of adversity in her personal life when she lost her dad.’
‘It was a privilege to work with Sayuri,’ said soil scientist Professor Pardon Muchaonyerwa. ‘Lecturers admired her academic prowess as she always came top of the class. It was a great pleasure to be part of her academic growth. She has the world ahead of her.’
Srikissan received the Roland Schulze Award for the top third-year Hydrology student at the annual College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science awards ceremony.
Srikissan’s mother, Sholay Aheer Srikissan is very proud, describing her daughter as a person who has been consistent throughout her life, displaying great ambition while accomplishing her goals. ‘Sayuri is the epitome of success. My daughter has a very bright future ahead of her.’
Srikissan is currently registered for an Honours degree in Hydrology as she believes postgraduate study will improve her abilities. Her research study will look at using satellite images to improve water quality estimates. ‘These images can assist us as hydrologists to come to conclusions on our current water conditions, and from there take necessary steps to address certain problems,’ she said.
In her spare time, Srikissan likes to garden, cycle and go to the gym.
Words: Sabeliwe Langa
Photograph: Gugu Mqadi