Top matriculants join SU Faculty of Engineering

[Article by Nane Zietsman]

After a tumultuous two years, the matric class of 2021 delivered outstanding results. Once again, the Faculty of Engineering is proud to have two of the top achieving matriculants join our 2022 cohort. Christiaan Botes and Genn Echun passed their IEB and NSC examinations with aggregates above 90% respectively.

Christiaan Botes from Helpmekaar College, whose results were released on Wednesday the 19th of January, obtained 14 distinctions in the IEB exam. He joined the Faculty to pursue a degree in Mechatronic Engineering. In his explanation of why Stellenbosch University was the obvious choice, Christiaan reflects on the biggest lesson he learned during his matric year: “My matric year taught me something significant: balance is the key to leading a happy and fulfilling life. Stellenbosch offers a high performance academic environment and serves the prospect of having a great student life. In my opinion, the student life at Stellenbosch is the best in South Africa and maybe even the world,” he says.

According to Christiaan, the field of engineering plays to his strong suit: “I’m very proficient in mathematics, physics and most subjects that require analytical thinking. I’ve always been good at problem-solving, which is what I believe is the most integral part of being an engineer.” Although engineering was a sure choice for him, Christian shares that he had difficulty deciding on a discipline: “My initial choice was Electrical and Electronic Engineering as I love both the hardware and software aspects of computers. During matric, I fell in love with Formula 1 and the advanced designs and technologies it displays. Thus I started thinking about switching over to Mechanical Engineering to pursue a career similar to what the F1 engineers have. I was torn between Mechanical and Electrical and Electronic Engineering until I finally discovered the interdisciplinary field of Mechatronic Engineering.”

Christian concludes that the wisdom shared by the house committee of Eendrag Men’s Residence, where he currently resides, echoes how he wishes to spend his time at Stellenbosch: “The house committee taught us that excellence is not an act, but a habit. This encourages one to perform everything you do with excellence as it ensures that success is not only possible but also probable.”

Genn Enchun, from Parel Vallei High School, is another top-achieving matriculant who joined the Faculty this year. Genn achieved an astounding average in the NSC exam, especially in Advanced Programme Mathematics (AP Maths). The curriculum of this subject extends and enhances students’ knowledge of mathematics, sharpens their problem-solving ability, and greatly facilitates the transition to the demands of university, whether in South Africa or abroad.

According to Genn, he too chose Stellenbosch University for its academic excellence and appealing student life. Genn is currently enrolled for a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering: “I chose this discipline because I have always loved problem-solving and innovation. I feel electrical engineering provides an abundance of opportunities in this regard. Furthermore, the skills I will gain in this programme will give me a lot of versatility which will ensure multiple career choices in the future,” explains Genn.

He shares that his academic achievement has proved to him that hard work pays off: “There were times last year where I would ask myself if what I was doing was worth it and looking back, I can confidently say it was. At this moment I am cautious of keeping up my performance this year, but in the end, I know that what I get out will be determined by what I put in.” Genn’s current focus is adjusting to the demands of his first-year academics: “Once I have found my stride, I will actively start working towards my long-term goals, which include completing a postgraduate degree. After seeing the incredible projects that postgraduate students have completed, I know that this is the path I want to follow. I truly love learning and exploring new possibilities, and a postgraduate programme will ensure that.”

Genn ends by sharing the affirmation he applies in his daily life: “If you try your best, things will work out, maybe not exactly the way you want them to, but they will.”

Photograph: Christiaan Botes (left) and Genn Echun (right) standing proudly in front of the main entrance to the Faculty of Engineering.