NAS Women: We are capable of so much more than we can ever imagine
Women's Month: Focus on Mrs Leushantha Mudaly
Q: Job title and in which department/research entity do you work?
A: Lecturer in Soil Science in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
Q: What has been the highlight of your career?
A: There have been a few but two that stick out. One was when a student called me a few years after his honours degree to tell me that he is employed and doing well. He wanted to thank me for contacting him when he dropped out of the honours programme and motivating him to continue and complete his studies. Knowing that you played a small part in someone's success makes this job that much more fulfilling. The second was winning an award for the best paper (by an author 30 or younger) in the Soil Science category at the National Combined Congress (George, Western Cape, 2015).
Q: What inspires you?
A: My parents have been the most significant source of inspiration. Both my parents come from impoverished backgrounds and could not study further than Grade 12. However, their hard work and sacrifices ensured that I could be the first in our family to obtain a degree from a tertiary institution.
Q: What challenges have you experienced in your career?
A: As an Indian South African, studying Soil Science was not an obvious choice. There were also challenges associated with being a Soil Scientist of colour. However, the positive experiences far outweigh the negative. More recently, as a toddler's mother, it is challenging to strike the perfect work-home balance, particularly during the COVID19 pandemic.
Q: What message do you have for the youth of South Africa
A: The advice I would give is to always believe in yourself and take your opportunities. I have learned that we are capable of so much more than we can ever imagine, and hard work is the key. Of course, there will always be setbacks, and there may be people who discourage you, but if you have a passion for what you do, then go for it, and success will follow.