NAS Women: Decisions you make today will influence the quality of your tomorrows
Women's Month: Focus on Dr Nerhene Davis
Q: Job title and in which department/research entity do you work?
A: Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology
Q: What has been the highlight of your career?
A: In 2017, I got the opportunity to join a small group of postgraduate UP students to participate in a BRICS summer school exchange programme between UP and the URAL Federal University in Russia. The Summer school programme included formal lecture sessions, a bus tour of the Yekaterinburg area, a visit to the Yeltson Center and scheduled walks around the city, ensuring that we experience the "real Russia''. The programme concluded with a cultural evening where we had to showcase the diversity of South African culture. During this exchange, I presented a lecture on Urban Development trends in BRICS countries at the URAL Federal University, experienced a bit of the Russian culture and acted as an ambassador for SA. It was truly a remarkable experience, one that stands out as one of my career highlights.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Working collaboratively with people/colleagues inspires me. I learn from others during collaborative encounters and find that these interactions inspire me to improve my own skills and creativity. Collaboration, therefore, becomes a catalyst for me to think differently about how I would approach a task or problem, and it also helps me to become more creative and critical about the nature of the contribution that I can make in different contexts. I find collaborative encounters, therefore, rewarding and it inspires me.
Q: What challenges have you experienced in your career?
A: I think of myself as a "late bloomer" in terms of my academic career. I had three boys in fairly quick succession during the first few years of marriage and like most new moms I lost a bit of momentum in my career path. Losing momentum triggered self-doubt about my own abilities as a researcher, mom and lecturer. It, therefore, took a lot of courage for me to start and complete a PhD at a more advanced age in my life and I felt that I needed to do a lot of catching up with my peers. I, therefore, needed to redefine the balance between my roles as a mother and an academic to improve my career progress, which was a bit of a challenge for me.
Q: What message do you have for the youth of South Africa?
A: I think the youth of SA should constantly be reminded that the decisions they make today will influence the quality of their tomorrow. They should be told that their subject choices, the spaces they choose to occupy or disregard and certainly the life choices they make will determine their future career trajectories. Therefore, we should make use of every opportunity to encourage the youth of SA to make good life choices and sound decisions by reminding them to always consider the outcomes of their decisions in the long term.