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A new look for the SAEON Graduate Student Network Committee

The new GSN Committee. From left: Ander De Lecea, Caswell Munyai, Paula Pattrick, Rachel Cooper, Martin Baloyi and Dirk Snyman.
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- Paula Pattrick, SAEON GSN Committee Member


On 28 March 2011, SAEON’s Graduate Student Network (GSN) held their first meeting as a new committee at the headquarters of SAEON’s Fynbos Node at the Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town.

The committee members of 2010, Ander De Lecea, Dirk Snyman, Rachel Cooper and Shannon Hampton, warmly welcomed three new committee members, Caswell Munyai, Martin Baloyi and Paula Pattrick. The three new members have been appointed to replace Shannon and Brian.

Caswell, from the University of Venda, has recently completed his Masters in Environmental Science and will be enrolling for his PhD this year, focusing on long-term monitoring of ants (Formicidae) along an elevational gradient. He will be in charge of co-ordinating events together with Martin, who hails from the University of Johannesburg. Martin’s Masters is part of Enerkey, a multi-national project that looks at energy as the key element for the sustainable development of mega-cities. His Masters aims to evaluate the energy performance of school buildings.

Paula, from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, has just completed the first year of her PhD which focuses on larval fish ecology in Algoa Bay (in the Eastern Cape) and the implications of various habitats as nursery areas. She will be in charge of external communications.

Ander, who will be completing his PhD on trophic linkages in the KwaZulu-Natal Bight using stable isotopes, remains in charge of the web page while Dirk, from Stellenbosch, who is doing his MSc is in charge of internal communication within the committee.

Rachel, from the University of Cape Town, has completed her MSc studies and will be studying towards her PhD this year. Rachel keeps her duties of maintaining and keeping the member list up to date, mailing members with exciting opportunities from SAEON and other organisations, and she has also been appointed the GSN Committee Co-ordinator.

Shannon from the 2010 GSN Committee and Victoria Goodall from the Fynbos Node kindly joined the 2011 Committee for the day to help get the new members up to speed with the workings of SAEON.

Following a quick welcome and introduction of old and new members, the GSN Constitution was discussed and the responsibilities of each committee member for the duration of 2011 were allocated. Complementing the new GSN Committee is a new look to the SAEON GSN website designed by Ander. The new website hosts numerous job opportunities, upcoming conferences and many exciting opportunities for the GSN.

GSN Indibano

Advertising of the GSN was a major topic of the meeting, with the focus of 2011 to generate a large group of GSN members through collaboration with SAEON. The GSN Indibano earmarked for the beginning of October was another area of major discussion. The committee excitedly discussed a theme of inter-disciplinary long-term monitoring for the Indibano, with several key speakers, workshops, stimulating outings and a skills transfer planned for the Indibano later this year.

GSN Committee members left the meeting enthusiastic and energised for 2011, and look forward to the many activities planned for the year, but most of all to the Indibano.

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