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Currently studying: A Master’s degree in Astrophysics with the National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme, part of the University of Cape Town, South Africa
Undergraduate degree: Studied Physics and Astrophysics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa
School: St Charles College, South Africa
Cambridge International AS & A Levels History, Maths, Physics
Cambridge International AS Levels Biology, Chemistry, English Language and Literature and French
Tell us about your choice of Cambridge International AS & A Levels
My original plan was to study Biology at university and then follow a career in research. I therefore chose Biology as one of my Cambridge International A Levels, together with Physics and Chemistry because good results in these subjects were important for university placement. In addition, the Cambridge programme allowed me to expand my studies beyond science, something which other high school programmes didn’t offer. As a result I took History, a subject I had always enjoyed, and French - I was very keen to develop my ability to speak French and so was glad to be able to study it at Cambridge International AS Level.
You then changed your degree plans - how did your Cambridge studies influence your decision?
I knew I would only be satisfied with a career that could lead to ground-breaking research. The Cambridge syllabus, as well as my own exploration of the subject, convinced me that Physics was, in fact, my ideal career path.
What extra-curricular activities did you enjoy at school, and how did these help you transition to university?
Exploring different interests at school meant I arrived in Cape Town with a broad platform from which to meet people and develop my hobbies further. As a result, rather than feeling that I have to balance my interests with my work, instead I've found that they enhance my focus and passion.
I loved playing football at school, and I play regularly here in Cape Town as it is a great way to keep fit and socialise. I've kept up my piano playing, have been very involved with Cape Town's parkour community, have done a lot of hiking and rock-climbing and generally enjoy being out and about as often as I can.
What did you go on to study at the University of Cape Town?
In 2019 I completed my bachelor's degree in Science, with majors in Physics and Astrophysics, and in 2020 I completed an honours degree in Astrophysics. I am now completing a two year master's degree in Astrophysics as part of the National Astrophysics and Space Science Program, based at the University of Cape Town. I’m specialising in theoretical astrophysics and cosmology, and my master's project is on gravitational lensing.
In early 2022, I had the chance to travel to France to spend a month working in my co-supervisors' labs at the University of Montpellier and the University of Paris-Saclay. During this time, I presented my research at the ‘Line-of-Sight Effects in Gravitational Lensing’ conference in Montpellier, and attended an additional conference on the detection of dark matter subhaloes. This was a fantastic opportunity to meet, learn from and network with some of the best minds working in my field. I will be applying to do a PhD at the University of Montpellier next year.
Would you recommend Cambridge qualifications to other students?
Absolutely. Given the high standards that science undergraduates are expected to meet, I strongly recommend the Cambridge curriculum for anyone thinking of pursuing a scientific career. As proof of this, during my degree course I had the opportunity to give a local high school an insight into my Cambridge experience, and the school’s science programme has since been adapted for all their students. I’m also currently tutoring several high school learners, some following the Cambridge syllabus.
Revisiting my high school courses has given me a renewed appreciation for Cambridge's rigorous approach to nuanced concepts, particularly in maths and physics, which laid the foundations for the work I'm doing today.
Tell your story - We’d love to hear about your university journey. Please complete the form and we’ll be in touch.