University of Pretoria

Posted on February 10, 2009

According to the criteria of the award, Dr Jacquie van der Waals was given this distinctive award based on her recent contribution to promoting general public awareness of plant pathology and related issues.

Over the past two years, Dr Van der Waals has been instrumental in the following lay publications coming into being:

  • van der Waals, J E. 2007. Research extract: Si affects potato growth. Beneficial Nutrients News. 3(1):4.
  • van der Waals, J.E. 2007. Which potato wilt is that? Afgriland 51(3): 64-65.
  • van der Waals, J.E. 2008. Potato Pathology Programme @ UP. Chips 22(2) 24-28.

“I made the decision to study Plant Pathology when still at school, after attending an agricultural week at the University of Pretoria. The challenges and exciting projects in Plant Pathology convinced me that this is what I would like to do,” elaborates Dr Van der Waals when asked how she ended up in this scarce skill discipline.

According to Dr Van der Waals, Plant Pathology is an interesting field that offers endless growth opportunities for young minds. The perks of this field are worth exploring and lots of ground is yet to be covered.

“I would like to encourage all young people with an interest in the natural sciences to consider plant pathology as a career. The job opportunities are varied and plentiful. There is something for everyone in plant pathology. It is an especially important field of study in the current global situation regarding food security and alleviation of poverty,” continues Dr Van der Waals, who is also the co-ordinator of the UP with Science community engagement projects in Plant Pathology.

Dr Van der Waals’ passion for the field is reinforced through her active community engagement endeavours. She regularly speaks at various potato growers days throughout the country and appears on various platforms to publicise plant pathology as a career (this included an appearance on AgriTV).

She currently also serves as the SASPP Northern Branch Chairperson (2008 – 2009) and was the organiser of last year’s SASPP Northern Branch Symposium. “I reached where I am today through passion for what I do, hard work and support from family, friends and colleagues,” concludes Dr Van der Waals.




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