“I’ve always loved biology as I found it truly interesting. I was motivated by being part of Iimbovane! I saw myself at varsity after attending the project.” – Azole Klaas
These are the words of Iimbovane alumnus, Azole Klaas, who decided to pursue his passion for science after high school. Azole is currently a first year student at the University of Cape Town (UCT), and is doing a BSc degree with majors in Biochemistry, Human Anatomy and Physiology. His undergraduate degree consist of a variety subjects from basic biology to statistics.
“I enjoy all the subjects, but I’ve always enjoyed numbers and graphs more, so Mathematics is definitely my favourite. I’ve passed my Mathematics with a distinction and now I am doing Bionumeracy – it is a type of statistics that we use to analyse trends in biology. It is challenging, but incredibly nice,” says Azole.
Azole joined the Iimbovane Outreach Project in 2017 as Grade 10 learner from Vusisizwe Secondary School in Worcester. During this year Azole took part in the classroom lessons and fieldwork sessions of the project and his keen interest in biological sciences has also led him to join one of the Iimbovane holiday programmes. The Iimbovane holiday programme is a multiday event during which learners take part in mini-research projects investigating the biodiversity and its importance in a variety of ecosystems.
“My experience of science with the Iimbovane Outreach Project was refreshing. As educational as the experience was, it was fun and interesting as well. We were practically involved in the learning process – it even took me out of my comfort zone, I had a blast! As a result, I could retain most things I learnt from the project. I can remember most of them even today,” says Azole.
Being a student at a university also comes with its own challenges and for Azole the biggest difference between high school and university is the pace at which things move.
“Everything in varsity was moving so fast to a point where you start doubting yourself and questioning your capabilities. But after a while you start to get the hang of it, develop your own routine and completely transform from a high school learner to a university student.”
He adds, “I learnt a lot from Iimbovane and from the amazing people that I met there. One lesson that stands out to me is that one should incorporate fun in everything you do, especially when it comes to academic work! That helps me even now because the more I enjoy my academic work, the better I retain information when studying thus increasing my chances of being successful.”
Azole is a real inspiration to pursuing one’s passion and Iimbovane wish him all the best in his career and look forward to his scientific contributions and achievements in future!