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Phumela Ngcokovana

Phumela Ngcokovana

2019 Intern

Phumela Ngcokovana’s career began with an interest in Biological Sciences, which later evolved into Environmental Sciences when she started learning about the career opportunities available in this field.
She holds an Honours degree in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from the University of Fort Hare, which she will use to address key issues in both social and environmental contexts.

In her position as a GIS Technician intern at the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency in East London, Phumela hopes to gain new skills that will help her grow and become an established GIS Analyst in the near future.

We asked her to tell us more about her passion:

What motivated your career choice?
My biggest motivation is my love for data analysis and Earth’s natural processes. I became aware of GIS when I was introduced to Geology during my second year at university. Although this was something new to me, my passion for the subject grew as I started understanding it better. The analysis part of it stood out for me, and since then I have no doubt that this is where I want to specialise.
What do you hope to gain from the internship?
I am hoping to gain invaluable experience in the GIS field, given that this is a main requirement for major companies and yet a scarce skill. One day I would like to become an established GIS Analyst and be able to apply my skills in a number of business situations.

What excites you the most about the internship?
The fact that I am involved in biodiversity stewardship and environmental management programmes, which I was not exposed to while at university is exciting for me. I believe that my involvement in these areas will expand my knowledge further.

What do you think is the biggest environmental issue the world is facing right now?
Climate change is the leading environmental threat to wildlife, plants and the human population. The reduction of the carbon footprint of individuals, communities and companies may be a starting point to mitigating against this problem.

What contribution do you wish to make to the well-being of people and nature?
I wish to create awareness about climate change and encourage people to conserve our environment and its species for future generations. I want to focus more in rural areas where people do not seem to understand the possible impacts of climate change.

If you had a chance to change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Political unrest is a big issue in South Africa as a whole, and it seems to be growing every day. If I had control over it, I would probably change constitutional policies so that there is no need for people to protest over service delivery.

Who do you admire the most and why?
My mother’s unwavering support from childhood until now has influenced me to dream big. She does not make choices for me but instead supports whatever decision I make. I would not have made it this far if it was not for her love and support. I will forever be grateful to her.

What role do you think your generation could play in creating a better world for all?
We should begin by taking responsibility for being initiators of change, and do something good and beneficial for someone without expecting anything in return. We ought to aspire to treat everyone equally regardless of our views or social standing. And most importantly, we must be willing to learn from others, as no one knows everything.

The responsibility of conserving our biodiversity and protecting our water sources requires practice not just knowledge. There is a need to educate people about our planet and what it entails, so that we all work towards a common goal.

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