Top achievers in the Wits chemistry school were honoured and celebrated at an awards ceremony on Thursday. The ceremony, held annually, hopes to raise awareness of chemistry as a possible career path.

“I want to make students realise that chemistry is a viable career… Many students enrol for chemistry because it’s a prerequisite for another subject but they know nothing about chemistry and so they wouldn’t even consider it as a career, said ” Gaby Meirim, a chemistry tutor.

Meirim said currently there are 116 3rd year students enrolled in the third year course. She also said that there are 112 students currently enrolled in the postgraduate programme and great numbr of them are from other universities. “By doing this we are giving them an opportunity to actually mix with our researchers… We really expose them to chemistry and career opportunities we have to offer.”

One of the winners, Pheeha Joseph Moeta, 3rd year BSc Chem said: “It’s [winning] incredible because I’ve been putting in a lot of my time into my studies. I have also established a study style that works for me so I am happy.”

Kirsten Youlton, 2nd year BSc Chem said: “It was so unexpected, I didn’t see it coming at all so it was awesome. I’ve put in a lot of weekends for this course but I enjoy chemistry so it doesn’t feel that frustrating.”

Together with Rena Joao, 1st BSc, Youlton and Moeta achieved a semester mark of 74% and above. All three received a R1000 book voucher  as well as the opportunity to join the First Year Research Assistantship Programme.

Dr Nosipho Moloto, lecturer in the department said that while chemistry is not the most popular course among students, it is a “central science”.

“It’s an important science and I try to encourage my students that if they are unsure of the career path they want to take in science, its best to stay in chemistry because it has many opportunities. Because it’s central, you can do whatever you want with it.”