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Tebello Nyokong

DST/NRF Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Nanotechnology; Director, DST/Mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre for Sensors, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Country of birth: Lesotho

Educational background: PhD, University of Western Ontario, Canada; MSc, McMaster University, Canada; BSc University of Lesotho

Una MurphyA typical work day
As a research professor, my main focus is on research, and thus I supervise a large number of graduate (MSc and PhD) students. This means on a typical day I am in the laboratory helping students with any research problems they may have and introducing new ideas for research. I train students in scientific writing and in presenting their research in a language that can easily be understood by non-specialists. I also attract undergraduate (especially female) students to my research laboratory so that they will consider chemistry as a career. Even though I am mainly
a researcher, I still do some undergraduate teaching related to my research. As such, I teach students about the importance of research in development. Like all academics I spend time writing research proposals or research reports. I also arrange travel for my graduate students to spend
time in other laboratories all over the world. Many students welcome the opportunity to see new countries and visit other laboratories.

What I enjoy most
I enjoy interacting with research students in my laboratory ranging from undergraduate to MSc and PhD students. I enjoy seeing their excitement when experiments work out. Since at the graduate level the students have to think for themselves without being given procedure, the smile on their faces when they realize they actually can have ideas that work is priceless.

Words of wisdom
Especially to those who are starting in research, do not let negative reviews of your papers discourage you-use them to learn and keep improving your research. Do not be embarrassed to ask others to mentor you. Seek the mentorship. To female researchers especially, it may look impossible to
balance a career with parenting or home life, but as women we are good at multi-tasking.