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In depth: South Africa’s first female nuclear engineer

ESI Africa speaks with Women in Nuclear South Africa (WiNSA) President, Dr Margaret Mkhosi, about life lessons and role of women in the nuclear sector.


Who were your mentors and how did they inspire your choices?


Nuclear South Africa (WiNSA) President, Dr Margaret Mkhosi
Nuclear South Africa (WiNSA) President,
Dr Margaret Mkhosi

My eldest brother has been my number one mentor all the way. When he finished high school, he declined a scholarship for himself so that he could work in order to get us through school. He was instrumental in my choosing a career in the sciences. During my studies in the USA, Dr Richard Denning and Dr Audeen Fentiman proved to be very inspiring to me. Dr Denning was my academic advisor making my transition from South Africa very smooth. The kind of support he provided especially when it came to handling my research work was very inspiring and this led to me advising women today on how to balance work, academic work and life in general. Dr Fentiman was the first female nuclear engineer in the history of Ohio State and that served as an inspiration to me. She was a great mentor whose support led to my current success as a female leader in the nuclear space.


What challenges have you had to overcome in your professional career?


Whilst doing my undergraduate degree, I was one of the only two females in my class who majored in Physics and Chemistry. People were trying to discourage us, telling us that no woman had ever majored in Physics in the history of the department. We proved…

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