Public Sector Manager - - KEFILWE VERONICA MOOKODI -

I grew up in Kraaipan, a ru­ral vil­lage in the North West. I ma­tric­u­lated from Boithaopo High School be­fore en­rolling at NWU to study sci­ence. It was only when I was about to com­plete my un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree and wanted to fur­ther my stud­ies in physics that I heard about a ca­reer in the nu­clear field. The only thing I knew at the time was about the nu­clear bombs I had seen in movies. A friend – who hap­pens to be my hus­band to­day – told me about a pro­gramme man­aged by the Cen­tre of Ap­plied Ra­di­a­tion Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy at NWU. That’s when I got to know about nu­clear stud­ies and nu­clear as a pos­si­ble ca­reer path. “Like all cu­ri­ous and in­quis­i­tive sci­en­tists, I de­cided to fol­low this new path and ex­plore the ap­pli­ca­tion of sci­ence rather than pure sci­ence. I now know more of peace­ful uses of nu­clear tech­nolo­gies and I am very pos­i­tive about it.” The nu­clear field is vast and of­fers plenty of ca­reers and op­por­tu­ni­ties, rang­ing from re­search and de­vel­op­ment to in­dus­trial ap­pli­ca­tions and reg­u­la­tions. Although this is not my first job in the nu­clear sec­tor, be­ing an in­spec­tor in the nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring ra­dioac­tive ma­te­rial in­dus­try, where we look at things like mines and min­eral pro­cess­ing fa­cil­i­ties and lab­o­ra­to­ries han­dling ra­dioac­tive ma­te­rial, is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing to me. It’s my job to en­sure that work­ers, the pub­lic, en­vi­ron­ment and prop­er­ties are safe from pos­si­ble ra­di­a­tion dam­age. Know­ing that I am po­ten­tially sav­ing peo­ple’s lives and keep­ing peo­ple safe by do­ing my job ful­fills me. I am also ex­posed to dif­fer­ent sec­tors and tech­nolo­gies in the var­i­ous fa­cil­i­ties like mines, lab­o­ra­to­ries and metal scrap hold­ers, which means I broaden my knowl­edge. I don’t fo­cus only on nu­clear, but also learn about other fields such as engi­neer­ing, qual­ity man­age­ment, and health and safety. Out­side of work, I’m the sec­re­tary of the Kraaipan Youth Foun­da­tion, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that aims to assist learn­ers from dis­ad­van­taged families with school uni­forms. Help­ing peo­ple in this way is very sat­is­fy­ing. As the trea­surer of the South African Young Nu­clear So­ci­ety and a woman in the nu­clear field, I be­lieve that young women should know that nu­clear is not an easy in­dus­try to en­ter. It is still male-dom­i­nated, but we as women should stop wait­ing to reach the light at the end of the tun­nel and com­mit to be­ing that shin­ing light. Dream big, work hard, stay fo­cused and never give up.

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