I was born and raised in today’s Eritrea. After finishing high school, in 1995, I joined the University of Asmara (UoA) for my bachelor’s degree. In 1999, I received a BSc degree majoring in Chemistry and a minor in Geology. I worked for two years till the end of October 2001 as laboratory personnel in the Water Resources Department (WRD), a branch of the Ministry of Land, Water & Environment, in the capital Asmara.
In November 2001, I started a new journey to South Africa for a postgraduate study. I was hosted by Stellenbosch University, one of the most beautiful and high-ranking academic institutions in South Africa. A year later, after receiving my bachelor’s with honours (BScHons) degree, I joined the Analytical Chemistry group for my MSc.
Considering the hot issues surrounding our environment, I chose to study chemicals that are of concern to human and animal well-being within our environment. I studied the presence of Organochloro-Pesticides (OCPs) in water and sediment samples. These chemicals are highly toxic and are known to disrupt our endocrine system. I then earned my MSc in Analytical Environmental Chemistry in December 2004.
I worked for a year in the same university and within the same group as a research assistant. This one-year work then undoubtedly opened a new opportunity for me. In January 2006, I was officially enrolled as a PhD student to work on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) partially responsible for the aroma and flavour of red and white South African wines. I studied four red and two white wine varieties. It has been a landmark and a game-changer for me. It truly showed me that I have what it takes to be eligible in the scientific world. In December 2009, I was awarded my PhD degree in Analytical Chemistry with its magnificent application to wines, a drink loved by most people.
After making South Africa my home for about eight years, I embarked on a new adventure, to the west. I was hired as a postdoctoral researcher to work at the Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University (WUR), The Netherlands.
As the only chemist in our laboratory of about 70-80 members including permanent staff, a temporary employees like myself and students, I was privileged to be part of multiple projects. I played my part in projects not only within the Dutch borders but far beyond extending to Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.
Working at WUR was aspiring. It was a time of great experiences both academically and socially. I have interacted with scientists from across the globe and became a part of many outstanding scientific research projects. Great university and great colleagues, my time at WUR was an experience to remember for many years to come.
For more on my academic and scientific journey plus the things I learned along the way, please stay tuned. I plan to post under my blog occasionally, in order to share my academic expedition with the broader public in ways easily understood especially by the nonscientific minded.