School of Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Philosophy of MSc Graduate

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You are what you think – these are words cum laude Masters in Applied Mathematics graduate Christelle Bansilal lives by and they provide her with a reminder to always look on the bright side of everything and try to remain positive at all times.

Bansilal, the daughter of UKZN Professor of Mathematics Education, Sarah Bansilal, is living proof that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. When asked to comment, Professor Bansilal shared how proud she was of her daughter, describing her as a determined, hard worker.

‘Christelle has worked consistently hard in everything she has done and she has achieved outstanding results in her master’s degree. She has always enjoyed mathematics and is a keen reader, well informed on current events. She is outstanding in so many ways and, in fact, is the manager of our household and makes sure everything works smoothly at home,’ she said.

When Bansilal first started her BSc (Maths and Physics), she had planned on going into physics and astronomy. However, as her studies progressed she found that she was more passionate about mathematics. As a result, her MSc thesis was based on studying quintic Hermite functions and trying to develop a numerical collocation scheme to solve ordinary differential equations and partial differential equations.

‘We solved differential equations by determing their approximate solutions and requiring the equation to be satisfied at specific points. These were used along with candidate solutions to check if the conditions were met, such that the residual was zero at these points. We used this to investigate the usage of quintic Hermite functions to numerically solve differential equations through collocation.’

Bansilal is currently studying undergrad statistics modules as she feels they are very useful considering that she would like to get into Data Science. ‘It is a field that has such a far-reaching impact in every possible industry, I hope I am able to use the results to make a positive difference,’ she said.

Bansilal is particularly grateful to her two supervisors Dr Pravin Singh and Dr Nabendra Parumasur, saying they motivated her to pursue her Masters in Applied Mathematics. ‘I would not have completed my MSc if it weren’t for my two supervisors.  It was extremely tough at times but they continued to support me and went above and beyond to give me the help I needed,’ she said.

She is equally grateful to her mother, sister and boyfriend, saying she would not have made it this far if it was not for them. ‘They’ve been there constantly supporting me, especially when things got really hard. They would always be there to remind me what I achieve when I give it my best effort.’

Words: Saneh Mahlase 

Photograph: Supplied