Start main page content

Wits projects earn international acclaim

- Wits University

The Global Undergraduate Awards, awards two Wits students for excellence.

In a remarkable feat of academic excellence, two Wits students, Thompho Netshivhera and Rachel Haupt clinched top honours at the renowned Global Undergraduate Awards (UA) hosted in Dublin, Ireland from 5 to 8 November 2023. The awards mark a significant achievement for both the students and the University.

Thompho Netshivhera acccepting his award at Global Undergraduate Awards.Thompho Netshivhera acccepting his award at Global Undergraduate Awards.

Thompho Netshivhera, mechanical engineer extraordinaire: A global winner

Thompho Netshivhera, a first-year Masters candidate in Mechanical Engineering, achieved highly acclaimed and  global winner status in the engineering category at the awards. Netshivhera received the esteemed Thomas Chucklin Gold Medal for his hydro turbine project.

His project was inspired by his desire to address environmental challenges faced in his community. The hydro turbine project exemplifies Netshivhera’s commitment to sustainable solutions. 

“It wasn’t just about me, the project was about securing funding to benefit communities across South Africa by cleaning up our rivers," said Netshivhera.

In acknowledgment of exceptional academic prowess, Professor Thokozani Majozi, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, extends heartfelt appreciation and announced a Special Dean’s Award for Netshivhera.

"His stellar academic achievement has brought immense pride to our Faculty and the entire Wits community. In recognition of his outstanding accomplishments, I am pleased to announce that he will be honoured at the upcoming Faculty Awards," said Majozi.

Rachel Haupt accepting her award at the Global Undergraduate Awards

Rachel Haupt, geography maverick: A beacon of excellence

Rachel Haupt, a Masters by research student in Geography, was named the Regional Winner for Africa and the Middle East at the 2023 Global Undergraduate Awards. Haupt's research focused on the application of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating to derive ages for coastal dune deposits along the West Coast of South Africa. Her work not only earned her the Regional Winner title but also showcased the unique capabilities of Wits in the field.

Haupt has always had a passion for geography and the broader nature of the subject. 

“The ability to study both the human and the physical environment is so eye-opening. I think understanding coastal environments is important in light of climate change. Although the focus of the research is dating paleosols, the work provides insight into our own coastlines and their own susceptibility to change. The field of optically stimulated luminescence dating is incredible as it can be used as a springboard for climate reconstructions. Furthermore, I think that showing the unique and diverse research that Wits is doing and equipped to do is important.“

Haupt’s supervisor Dr Mary Evans from the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, commended her achievement, stating: " Haupt was able to learn a new and complex geochronological technique, apply it to a research question, and analyse the data to the level of achieving a distinction for her Honours project."

Celebrating excellence globally

Both students, representing different academic disciplines, have not only brought recognition to themselves but have also represented Wits on a global stage.

The Global Undergraduate Awards are known for recognising top undergraduate work, provides a platform for exceptional students to showcase their research, connect with peers globally and contribute to the global exchange of knowledge.

Here's a link for all the global winners

Here's a link for all the regional winners