Palesa Nathasha Mothapo

Mothapo Headshot

  • Mandela Washington Fellowship
  • 2018-19
  • South Africa
Bio
Palesa Mothapo is a postdoctoral research fellow at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. She holds a Ph.D. in Zoology with a focus on invasive ants and their impact on the ecosystem. She is passionate about mobilizing and developing research capacity among young African researchers. Palesa is a team coordinator for InvAfrica, funded by the International Foundation for Science. The team conducts collaborative research on the biodiversity and socio-economic impacts of an invasive weed and is composed of members from Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Uganda. She enjoys public engagement and has shared her research on many science communication platforms, such as New Voices in Science, FameLab, and Falling Walls. She is an alumna of the GreenMatter WWF Nedbank Green Trust Emerging Leaders, was honored as one of the top 200 Young South Africans by the Mail and Guardian newspaper, and is a lifetime member of the Golden Key International Honor Society. She believes that solving the grand challenges in Africa, such as poverty alleviation and food security, requires solution-based research. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she wants to continue developing research capacity, transferring skills, and sharing resources will enable Africans to start solving their own problems and improve their innovation potential.

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