Hello everyone welcome to the last episode of the year! Yes, you heard right, we are going on a production break for a few weeks so that I can get time off and come back rejuvenated for the year ahead. In this episode, my guest is Yanga Mdleleni from South Africa. se tells us the main reason she got into STEM specifically HIV research is because a close family member was diagnosed with the virus. With this emotional experience, she was determined and curious to understand more about this virus. With the unwavering support of her mother she pursued her passion and went on to pursue a degree in STEM specifically HIV research as a virology student. Yanga takes us through her academic journey especially the hard transition from high school to university. Her current research for her PhD is on immune responses to HIV and HPV, the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer. Yanga tells us more about her involvement in this research and its importance. Further, we speak about the non-profit organization she founded called the Nguta Foundation aimed at assisting youth and inspired by grandmother. Lastly, we delve into how she's dealt with personal losses in her family this past year. I ask her how she thinks academia can be more sensitive to students and how a supportive environment can be created as a loss in one's life takes a major toll on the academic performance and mental health of a person.
This was a wonderful conversation, tune in!
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