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Dear fellow alumni


When I recently received the NWU alumni magazine, I saw the request that we should let everyone know how our careers are progressing.


In 2003, I was a first year at the former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (PU for CHO) and lived in the Kasteel ladies' residence. I completed my BSc in microbiology and botany, and in 2006 started my BScHons degree in water sciences.


Moving on


In 2009 I applied for Rand Water’s first development programme for graduates, lasting two years. I was fortunate to be one of 10 students selected from approximately 1 400 applications nationally.


They spent a million rands on every student, and the training involved different courses and a research project. I used my project to obtain my MSc degree in environmental sciences through Rand Water and the NWU.


In 2011, I was appointed permanently by Rand Water and became part of the division for Water Quality Specialised Services. I am a member of the team that monitors the water quality of the Vaal River and Vaal Dam.


This year I also started part-time studies in graphic design.


A picture is worth a thousand words


My aim with this is to better illustrate scientific results or information and use animation to make communication with non-scientists visually more exciting.


Fortunately, art is a major part of my personal life. I have also won a few writing and video competitions with *Afrikaans.com. Few people understand how I can be a creative and an analytical person – therefore a left- and a right-brain person. I think it makes life more interesting and offers more challenges.


It is important to me to find my true passion and try and make a difference somewhere.




Nicolene van der Walt, Vanderbijlpark

(Water quality adviser, Vaal Dam catchment area, Rand Water)


* Afrikaans.com is an organisation that celebrates the diversity and beauty of Afrikaans – Editor

For Nicolene, water quality is key

Nicolene tests the water quality at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens as part of an ad hoc project.

Nicolene sometimes flies over the Vaal River and the Vaal Dam for an hour or two with her colleagues.


Among other things, they check for the presence of algae and invader plants such as water hyacinth and the inflow of the effluent from sewerage works into the river or dam.  If they see leakages from pipes, pump stations or manholes, they report them to the Department of Water and Sanitation.

On the photo above, Nicolene van der Walt is driving a boat on the Vaal Dam, where they take water samples for their regular sampling programme or for special research projects. In the photograph below they are conducting research on the Vaal River.

Please write and tell us where you are in the world and how your careers are progressing, or just write about anything that is close to your heart.


Email your letters to nelia.engelbrecht@nwu.ac.za, fax them to 086 614 3222 or mail them to Nelia Engelbrecht, Corporate Communication, North-West University, Private Bag X1290, Potchefstroom, 2520.



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