Chemistry Department at UCT Open Day 2023

26 May 2023 | By Laa-iqa Rylands
Larnelle, Nicole, Jessica and Tara excited to participate in UCT Open day
26 May 2023 | By Laa-iqa Rylands

The University of Cape Town (UCT) Open Day, which took place on Saturday, 13 May, is an annual event that provides an invaluable opportunity for high school learners, their families, and teachers to explore the diverse range of undergraduate study options available at UCT. The event is instrumental in assisting prospective students in making informed decisions about their academic futures. One of the highlights of this year's UCT Open Day was the active participation of the Chemistry Department. They set up an exhibition table in Sarah Baartman Hall, where they conducted a series of captivating experiments under the guidance of Dr. Samantha Douman, Dr. Dalielah Jappie, and Ms. Laa-iqa Rylands. The experiments were centred around themes like electrochemistry, polymer chemistry, and organic chemistry, making science come alive for the visiting high school students. 

Dr. Samantha Douman and her students (Dr Emmanuel Ramoroka and Jarid Du Plooy) engaged with the learners, helping them design and create stylish bracelets and demonstrating the art of jewellery plating with gold and copper solutions. Additionally, the young participants enjoyed hands-on activities, such as making slime and gaining insights into the world of molecules. The Chemistry Department's exhibition proved to be a resounding success, drawing enthusiastic crowds of learners who eagerly queued to witness these exciting experiments. The interactive approach employed by the department undoubtedly kindled the students' interest in the field of chemistry. Furthermore, Ms. Laa-iqa Rylands made a significant contribution by creating a PowerPoint slideshow dedicated to the event. This presentation showcased UCT chemistry alumni, shedding light on their current job profiles and the motivations behind their decision to study chemistry at UCT. The real-world success stories shared in the slideshow undoubtedly served as an inspiration for aspiring chemistry students. 

In addition to the engaging experiments and informative presentations, UCT academics and postgraduate students played an essential role in making the event a success. Prof. Greg Smith, Dr. Clive Oliver, and Dr. Siyabonga Ngubane generously volunteered their time to interact with learners and their parents, offering guidance and advice, which is invaluable when making decisions about higher education. The active involvement of postgraduate students, including Leah Amod, Larnelle Garnie, Nicole Teixeira, Jarid Du Plooy, Jessica Faure, Tara Davids, Mymoena Davids, Megan Coetzee, and Maryam Fredericks, in assisting with the experiments added a personal touch to the event. Their enthusiasm and mentorship are likely to have left a lasting impression on the high school learners. 

In summary, the UCT Open Day was a resounding success, thanks to the proactive engagement of the Chemistry Department, the dedication of academics and postgraduate students, and the engaging experiments and presentations. This event played a pivotal role in kindling the interest of high school learners in the field of chemistry and offering valuable insights into the opportunities available at UCT. It was a day of inspiration and education, empowering future students to make informed decisions about their academic journeys.