Wonderful! As SftP old-timer Len Radinsky said when he
got tenure-- you can't lose 'em all!
On Wed, 25 Jan 2012, Mandi Smallhorne wrote:
> Can I share this with you?
> I may have mentioned that eight years ago I met and befriended an Aids
> orphan in one of our shanty towns. Mbali is very bright, and battled her way
> through a very poor and dysfunctional school to qualify for university. She
> wanted to do a BSc, but could not get in due to space constraints. She
> therefore did a diploma course in biotechnology at the University of
> Johannesburg last year - and did very well, getting three distinctions, one
> in chemistry.
> We applied to transfer her to BSc this year, and the admin botched things -
> they told her she was accepted subject to space being available, then told
> her she'd been rejected. I got into a rage and wrote an impassioned - but I
> hope reasoned - email to the dean, pointing out that this way, South Africa
> was likely to lose a scientist and gain a technician. She has proved that
> she is dedicated and hardworking, and will not drop out mid-year, as so many
> of our deeply unprepared first-years do. I said she should be accepted based
> solely on her 2011 results, but added that I found it really sad that they
> were turning down a girl who, on one occasion, turned to me with a glowing
> face and said, "I really LOVE science!" Someone who has the potential to go
> way beyond BSc, to really contribute to science nationally and globally.
> (Plus, I reminded them, she has a sponsor who is paying her fees, and I am
> sure I can fundraise a little to cover books - so many of our first-years
> don't have enough for their fees, and can't qualify for a bank loan, the
> Catch-22 being banks won't loan to first-years who they well know could drop
> And guess what? I got a phone call from the faculty. They have decided to
> accept Mbali. She's on her way! A kid born in a corrugated iron shack will
> become a scientist, will, I am sure, one day be Dr Nkabinde. Tears,
> laughter, and a desire to rush out and polka down the street.. OMG, I am so