AERLA has launched its own mentorship program to assist our cadets in reaching their goals and dreams. These relationships between mentor and cadet are vital throughout the cadets time at AERLA, particularly during their grade 12 semester long project.
AERLA’s first two mentors are Ms Lumka Mshibi, pictured left, and Dr Rene Heise.
Ms Lumka Msibi- Ms Msibi, 24 years old from Denel Spaceteq. She has an Engineering degree from the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand, and completed an internship at Denel Dynamics.
Ms Msibi has always been and is actively involved in various outreach, awareness, and mentorship programs for Aerospace and STEM etc, and in the past has assisted 1st year students (as a first year orientation mentor at the University of the Witwatersrand Academic Development Unit) with bridging the gap between matric and university.
More recently, Ms Msibi recently won 1st prize in the IAF Poster Competition with her poster and Technical Paper titled “53rd South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) and Denel Spaceteq Schools Outreach Program,” in the Category of Space Education and Outreach Symposium at the 65th International Astronautics Conference in Toronto Canada. Within this category, there were 9 finalists that were selected out of 500 submissions. Her poster, which was accompanied by a Technical Paper, was designed out of the Technical Work she had done during the visit to Antarctica – upgrade of the South African Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (Super DARN) which is a South African Installation in the Antarctica used to monitor the dynamic Space Weather, used to as an early warning system for Satellites, when the Space Weather become adverse (Solar Activity increases to dangerous levels for Satellites).
Dr Rene Heise- Dr Heise grew up and went to school in Windhoek, Namibia. He started his studies in Mechanical Engineering in 1996, and promptly stayed on to start his Masters degree. Building on work that he did in the undergraduate studies, his PhD thesis involved the study of turbo-machinery and helicopter aerodynamics.
Dr Heise’s first job was as Senior Researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Here he worked on the development of UAVs, weapons release clearance and also received training in test flight engineering by attending the Operational Test and Evaluation course of the SAAF. After 7 years in that post he moved on to Rheinmetall Denel Munition at the end of 2012 to work as Aerodynamicist / External Ballistician and System Engineer.
As part-time / hobby he also continues to develop UAVs for specialist applications.