School of Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science

Mr Devin Pelser (left) was presented with the Vincent Maphai Scholarship by the keynote speaker at the ceremony, Standard Bank’s Mrs Victoria Ngwenya.

It All Adds up for Maths Boffin

Mr Devin Pelser is a top achiever. He got the highest marks for Maths and Physical Science in his matric year at Maritzburg College and at UKZN he completed his undergraduate degree in Maths and Computer Science summa cum laude going on to do his honours in Mathematics which he also achieved summa cum laude.

Pelser, who is busy reading for his Masters in Computer Science degree at the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science has now been awarded the Vincent Maphai Scholarship for being the top-ranked master’s student at UKZN.

The scholarship is named after the first Chair of Council of the University and former chairman of BHP Billiton South Africa.

Pelser says he is honoured to receive the scholarship. ‘This award is an acknowledgement of my achievements. It gives me a sense of pride and lets me know that all my hard work does not go unnoticed.’

The academic prowess and expertise of his professors inspired and guided Pelser throughout his academic journey. ‘I am amazed by the Maths department. They are able to simplify complex/abstract topics and push me to try reach a similar level of understanding.’

He acknowledged the role of his supervisor Professor Hugh Murrell in shaping his master’s degree. ‘I’m grateful to Professor Murrell for going above and beyond and hand crafting a course for me to extend into my masters.’

Pelser said scholarships relieved students of financial burdens. ‘I’m thankful I can now focus on my studies without having financial concerns or needing to work. It really has made a difference. The awards are certainly a motivation to keep working hard,’ said Pelser.

After completing his master’s degree, Pelser wants to enter the workforce and aspires to reach the heights of his professors.

Words: Sashlin Girraj

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal