Double Achievement for Dr Leanne Johnson

[Article by Nane Zietsman]

Stellenbosch University recently hosted in-person graduations for the first time since December 2019. The Faculty of Engineering was delighted to celebrate this milestone with our students. It was an occasion for many to celebrate their hard work and perseverance, including Dr Leanne Johnson.

Dr Leanne Johnson became the second person in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering to receive two doctoral degrees for her PhD thesis. Her achievement involved a joint PhD project at Stellenbosch University and The University of Western Brittany in Brest, France, under the supervision of Prof Petrie Meyer (SU) and Prof Benjamin Potelon (UBO).

Her thesis, Advances in Pedestal Surface Integrated Waveguide Filters, builds on the research she conducted during her Masters Degree – which was upgraded to a Postdoctoral study by the end of 2018. The following year, Dr Johnson visited The University of Western Brittany in Brest to collaborate on a project. In addition, she had the opportunity to work with Prof. Benjamin Potelon, who recommended that she submit her PhD thesis at both universities since they share a good relationship. According to Prof. Meyer, Brest was the best option abroad for Dr Johnson to advance her research since they have one of the finest European groups in her relevant technical field.

Initially, for the joint PhD project to commence, Dr Johnson’s study had to meet the requirements of both Stellenbosch University and The University of Western Brittany.

After receiving the approval, Dr Johnson boarded to spend a year in France as part of the approved arrangement. During her stay in France, she faced several challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Notwithstanding, Dr Johnson was still able to submit her thesis at the end of 2021.

In January, Dr Johnson finally received confirmation that Stellenbosch University and The University of Western Brittany have accepted her thesis, warranting her two doctoral degrees. The Faculty is truly proud of Dr Johnson’s success, and we would like to congratulate her on this extraordinary achievement.

Photograph: Prof Petrie Meyer and Dr Leanne Johnson on graduation day.