College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

UKZN’s ‘Dr T’ announced a finalist for South Africa’s Science ‘Oscars’

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Well-known UKZN personality, Dr Tanja Reinhardt (aka ‘Dr T’), has been announced as a finalist for the prestigious 2018/2019 NSTF-South32 Awards.

Reinhardt, who is Coordinator of UKZN’s Science and Technology Education Centre (STEC@UKZN), is a finalist for the NSTF Award for Communication for Outreach and Creating Awareness of SET and innovation.

The award recognises a communicator who has made an outstanding contribution to science, engineering and technology (SET) through a substantial impact in terms of public awareness of SET.

The annual NSTF-South32 Awards are referred to as the ‘Science Oscars’ of South Africa. They are the largest, most comprehensive, and most sought-after national awards of their kind in the country. They were also the first science awards in South Africa.

Reinhardt was announced as a finalist for her ‘comprehensive, innovative, creative and impactful SET educational outreach service to youth and the public at large through her visionary management of the UZKN Science & Technology Education Centre (STEC@UKZN) and Geology Education Museum (GEM).’

It was noted that Reinhardt, through an ongoing programme of presentations, science shows, interactive displays, workshops, career talks and mobile science lab outreach activities, had directly sparked a love of science amongst  thousands of school children and influenced them to enrol in a SET degree programme and embark upon a scientific career.

Her Geology education programme was also particularly unique within the Science Centre community.

‘I am very honoured to be nominated and selected as a finalist,’ said Reinhardt. ‘I would not have achieved this without the support of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science community, and in particular the CAES Public Relations team.’

The NSTF is the largest and most representative non-profit body, recognised by government for the purposes of consultation with stakeholders on matters relating to SET and innovation in South Africa. Its vision is a transformed country where SET and innovation contribute to a high quality of life for all who live in SA, where the profile of SET professionals is representative of the population’s profile and where the education system is effective, particularly in terms of performance in SET subjects and promoting innovation.

The NSTF Awards were established in 1998 as a collaborative effort to recognise outstanding contributions to science, engineering and technology (SET) and innovation by SET-related professionals and organisations in South Africa. This includes experienced scientists, engineers, innovators, science communicators, engineering capacity builders, and organisational managers/leaders, as well as data and research managers.

The winners of the 2018/2019 NSTF-South 32 Awards will be announced at a Gala Dinner on 27 June in Gauteng,  hosted by the Minister of Science and Technology who is patron of the awards.

Words by Dr Sally Frost