Expanding possibilities through Informatics

Woman of substance

15 May 2020 | Education

Dr Irja Shaanika completed her undergraduate studies at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), where she is also a lecturer.
She obtained her PhD in Informatics from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town.
She says her need to acquire more knowledge led to her obtaining the highest level of qualification, since she has always had the desire to make a meaningful contribution to society by proving how versatile, consistent and determined she is as a woman.
Shaanika was born at the Iitanaga village, 10km from Okahao in the Omusati region. She attended the local primary school up until grade 5 and continued to grade 6 at I.A Steenkamp Primary School in Windhoek.
Today she is the third Namibian to have obtained her PhD in her faculty.
Her daily activities include preparing and presenting lectures, as well as different assessments for both under- and post-graduate students. She also supervises student research projects and guides students in completing their theses.
Shaanika’s biggest accomplishment was publishing articles in accredited journals and conferences. “Putting in a paper for publication is not an easy task and being the third Namibian to hold a PhD in my faculty, is a great accomplishment,” she says.
One challenge she encounters in her work environment is sometimes being doubted as a staff member by security personnel. “Every time I pass campus gates, I am asked to show a student card. When I present my staff card, they read the card and then look at me just to double check,” she says with a smile.
Her typical day in the office is a rapidly moving one. “When I come in, I log onto my office phone before I attend to emails, student queries, departmental or other committee meetings and preparing my lessons,” she says.
Her plans are to start her post-doctorate after a few trips around the globe. One thing she wishes she knew how to do, is ride a bicycle. “In this way, if I owned one I could contribute positively to the environment by using an eco-friendly method of transport.”

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