Economic Performance and Development young researcher enjoys two career achievements in as many months
Samantha Senosha, a 25 year-old researcher from Limpopo, has cause to celebrate as one of the HSRC and EPD’s rising young researchers. She joined EPD as a Masters Intern in February 2016 and received her Masters of Arts in Public Management and Governance from the University of Johannesburg in June this year. She feels this was a fantastic achievement as she managed to complete it within four years while working in the intensive and demanding HSRC research environment. For Samantha the hard work she put into her studies during her undergraduate years resulted in numerous awards and an honours degree in Community Development and Leadership (cum laude) in 2013. “I learned quickly that hard work pays off and applied this to my Master of Arts studies and my work in EPD”. The upside was that when a researcher position became available in EPD, Samantha applied and was identified as the best candidate. She was awarded a five-year contract, where she will focus on policy research relating to employment creation and inclusive development.
Samantha attributes her suitability and capabilities not only to her willingness to work hard but also to the support of her mentors and colleagues. “I was given several opportunities to develop my existing skills and obtain new ones. Coming from a strong qualitative research background, I had never done any quantitative analysis before joining EPD. I was thrown in the deep end and combining this on occasions with mixed methods research,” she says.
“Fortunately, my mentor helped me immensely with the quantitative research aspect, and along with other supervisors and colleagues in EPD provided me with the knowledge to accept the contribution quantitative research and the combination of mixed methods makes to policy research.”
In her two and half years as an intern in EPD, Samantha has contributed to more than five projects in various capacities. These projects focused on exploring issues around employment creation and inclusive development, specifically focusing on the design and evaluation of public employment programmes, human resource development in the tourism sector and inclusive policy making for urban inclusion and various impact evaluations and assessments. During her second year she was given an opportunity to coordinate the fieldwork component for two projects. “This was another new challenge for me, but I’m pleased to say that it developed my latent project management skills and I learned supervisory skills that helped me to interact with different people with different needs, attitudes and motivations.”
Looking forward to her new position, Samantha wants to also make the time to develop her writing skills. “I recently finished an HSRC Review article based on my thesis and I am thinking of turning this into a policy brief. The paper focuses on the green economy policy management challenges in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. I am also planning to publish my first journal article within the next twelve months. I am finding the HSRC process of contributing to technical reports, HSRC Review articles and policy briefs a welcome and staggered approach to getting my work published and it boosts my confidence. This has been another valuable experience and one of the many I am gaining in EPD.”