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Beta talk: Sinoxolo Magaya

27 June 2024
In this column, staff of the Faculty of Science introduce themselves. This week it is Sinoxolo Magaya’s turn.

What do you do at VU and how long do you work there?
I am a PhD candidate. I started in October 2022, I have been working here for almost 3 years now."

"My research is under a Marie Curie project called RecaP (Capture, recycling and societal management of phosphorus in the environment). My PhD project focuses on the enabling and constraining variables for use of recycled phosphorus (P) products in organic farming across the EU. I have so far used both statistical analysis to determine the required P for organic farming in the EU, and stakeholder engagement to understand perceptions on recycled P products by organic farmers."

"What is the best thing about working at the Faculty of Science?"
I like that people are relatively open minded or trying to be, which makes the work environment generally comfortable. Also, there are efforts like the “PhD Buddy” system that aim to provide new PhDs with a sense of community and guidance when they’re new at the University or the country.

What could be better at the faculty?
While it is a good thing that we have conversations about work-life balance, EDI and mental health issues. The issues related to these conversations I find that are held mostly as abstract concepts that “can happen within academic spaces” but not as things that happen or can happen within the institute or the university. I do not know how this can be solved, I think it can be better communicated what to do if you experience any of these at IVM/faculty, who to get in touch with and how to talk about these issues in the context of the faculty."

Do you have a work tip for colleagues?
On days that it’s not raining, I go for a walk to the botanical garden after lunch, and take the long route to come back to the NU Building; walk along A.J. Ernststraat. I also sometimes go to gym (VU sportcentrum) at the OZW building or Uilenstede, and then go back to work."

What do you recommend colleagues do, see, read or listen to?
I recently finished reading “The Bluest Bye” by Toni Morison, I loved it. It is a well written book, easy to read while engaging in themes that can be hard to communicate. Another book is by Tan Twan Eng titled “The house of doors”, it is a slow burn and in the end, I still did not know who the villain is/was because all characters are multifaceted. When I want to wind down and not mentally engage as much, I listen to “Two hot Takes” on Spotify or Youtube."

Who do you pass the baton to?
I nominate Anandi Sarita Namasivayam. I like her perspectives on a lot of things and her sense of humor. 


Are you beta or alpha?
I do not fully understand what these terms mean but according to the computer science definitions, I am neither."

Lift or stairs?
Outside of going to the office, mostly stairs."

What is your favorite university snack?
I do not have a favorite university snack, but when I do get a snack, I get pringles from Spar."

What do you think is the most beautiful VU building?
The red potato building."