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Truly inspiring!

By Staff Writer
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SAEON’s Keneilwe Hlahane was chosen as one of the InspiringFiftySA winners for 2019. The enthusiastic young scientist was one of 50 women to receive this award in South Africa for 2019.

InspiringFiftySA’s mission is to inspire more girls and young women to choose a career in STEM. Their motto? “If she can see it then she can be it!”

This non-profit initiative originated in The Netherlands and was brought to South Africa in 2017 by the Netherlands Consul General. It aims to increase diversity in technology by boosting the visibility of female role models in STEM.

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SAEON’s Keneilwe Hlahane was chosen as one of the InspiringFiftySA winners. Keneilwe was also awarded a 2017 Women in Science award by the then Department of Science and Technology for her contribution to research in South Africa.                                     

Keneilwe (second from left) at the awards ceremony with, from left: Kingdom of The Netherlands Consul General in South Africa, Sebastiaan Messerschmidt, South African broadcaster and producer Carol Bouwer and Dr Mmaki Jantjies, head of the Information Systems department at the University of the Western Cape.

Keneilwe works at SAEON’s uLwazi Node as a GIS analyst/technician. She holds an MSc in Ocean and Atmosphere Science from the University of Cape Town, focusing on Geographical Information Systems and remote sensing of vegetation and water quality.

Her master’s research made use of remote-sensing satellite data to monitor water quality in South African dams. Her master’s research formed part of the Earth Observation National Eutrophication monitoring project of the then Department of Water Affairs.

In 2017 she was awarded the GIS Esri Young Scholar Award to represent South Africa in San Diego at the International Esri conference. She was also awarded the 2017 Women in Science award by the then Department of Science and Technology for her contribution to research in South Africa. In addition, the Motsepe Foundation honoured her with the Shining Light Award for her work in inspiring young girls to pursue careers in the field of science and technology.

On receiving her latest award, she says: “It’s been an honour and a privilege to be chosen as one of the InspiringFiftySA winners. Women are being recognised for the work they do in STEM; we are truly the change agents our country needs and I am humbled to be a part of this amazing group of women.”

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