NAS Women: Helping others and knowing that you made a difference
Women’s Month: Focus on Prof Jacquie van der Waals
Q: Job title and in which department/research entity do you work?
A: Associate Professor in Plant Pathology in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
Q: What has been the highlight of your career?
A: Being the keynote speaker at the American Potato Association’s Annual Conference in Boise, Idaho in 2018 and the week after that, an invited speaker at the International Conference of Plant Pathology in Boston.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Helping others and knowing that I have made a difference, whether in the lives of students or farming practices applied by growers. I am particularly inspired when I see my students excelling in their studies and, subsequently, their careers.
Q: What challenges have you experienced in your career?
A: I have faced many challenges in my career. One such challenge is the endless struggle to find research funds and bursaries for students; another relates to developing a thick skin and ignoring “academic snobbery”.
Q: What message do you have for the youth of South Africa?
A: Take the path less travelled, and don’t worry about the opinions of others. Make a difference in the lives of those around you because of who you are and not your achievements.