A new trainee for BEATS

15 May 2020

The BEATS project is pleased to welcome Fortune Mokoena to the team. Fortune holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. Starting from May 1st, 2020, he will spend 12 months between South Africa* and the ESRF as part of his Master’s degree. Under the joint supervision of Pierre Van Vaerenbergh at the ESRF and Muaaz Bhamjee and Simon Connell at the University of Johannesburg, Fortune will focus his training on three projects for the new tomography beamline at SESAME: a feasibility study for beamline automation, the tomography sample stage and a mechanical testing device for samples in situ.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fortune will begin his training online in South Africa and will take up his position at the ESRF once it becomes possible.

It will be Fortune’s first excursion outside his homeland and a stimulating step in his career. “Not only will this placement give me a chance to expand my knowledge in the scientific spectrum, it will give me the opportunity to become a better engineer as I will be exposed a whole new environment.  It will also give me the chance to experience life in Europe and to be exposed to the diversity in culture there. I will also be happy to share my culture with others and tell them about my place of origin.”

For Fortune, this placement also represents a step on the path towards the construction of a synchrotron lightsource in Africa. “The BEATS project will help me to understand holistically the logistics involved in the construction, procurement, operation and maintenance of a synchrotron. At the end of it all, I will be in a position to be able to give constructive input into the African Synchrotron project”.

Fortune was born and raised in Venda, a small region in the north-east of South Africa. He speaks five different African languages as well as being fluent in English. He says he is very talkative and enjoys telling stories.

Welcome, Fortune. We look forward to meeting you in person in the near future.

*South Africa is a scientific associate of the ESRF.