Three new lecturing staff join the Department of Chemical Engineering

The Department of Chemical Engineering at Stellenbosch University (SU) recently welcomed three dynamic additions to its faculty: Mrs. Naomi Harrisankar de Oliveira, Mr. Marno Basson and Dr. Mieke Nieder-Heitmann.

Naomi Harrisankar de Oliveira

Naomi started her academic journey with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town. Currently, she is pursuing doctoral research in the field of photocatalysis. Her research primarily focuses on the production of green hydrogen using photocatalysis from sustainable fuel sources and refining photoreactor design. She also acquired valuable experience through part-time work as an environmental engineer and research analyst. Her specialised fields within chemical engineering include catalysis, photocatalysis, and reactor design.

As a part-time Junior Lecturer, Naomi is dedicated to fostering a dynamic learning environment that integrates practical applications with theoretical concepts. Her goal is to empower students with strong fundamental knowledge, equipping them to become adept problem solvers and innovative thinkers in the field of Chemical Engineering. Naomi will be lecturing the first-year Engineering Chemistry course.

Marno Basson

Marno‘s academic career began with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from SU, where he discovered his passion for research and teaching. He furthered his studies with a Master’s degree in Extractive Metallurgical Engineering, followed by pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, focusing on Statistics and Machine Learning.

With a keen interest in leveraging data-driven methodologies to solve complex problems, Marno’s research explores unconventional applications within the realm of Chemical Engineering. His specialisation lies in developing and applying statistical and machine learning-based approaches to tackle abstract challenges, pushing the boundaries of traditional engineering paradigms.

As a part-time Junior Lecturer, Marno brings a multifaceted approach to teaching, blending authoritative, facilitative, and collaborative styles to cater to diverse learning preferences. His goal is to mentor the next generation of chemical engineers, fostering critical thinking, innovation, and collaboration within the classroom. Marno will teach Particle Technology and help supervise final-year student projects.

Mieke Nieder-Heitmann

Mieke‘s professional journey encompasses a diverse range of experiences, from diamond mine optimisation to bioresource valorisation projects across Europe. Holding a Ph.D. in Bioresource Engineering from SU, her thesis focused on process design, simulation, techno-economic analyses, and life cycle assessments within the sugar industry. Additionally, she has worked as an expert engineer in feedstock and rearing technology, specialising in the valorisation of waste bioresources, including Black Soldier Fly farming and feed production. Her expertise lies in conceptual process design and waste valorisation.

As a part-time lecturer, Mieke is dedicated to fostering curiosity and providing real-world context to students, aiming to inspire independent thinking and impactful contributions to their environment. Her teaching philosophy centres on breaking down complex concepts into digestible nuggets of information, empowering students to become independent knowledge seekers. She will be teaching mass transfer and separation technology.

As Naomi, Marno and Mieke embark on this new chapter in their academic careers, we look forward to their valuable contributions as members of the Department.