SU’s Bethuel Khamala takes first place in science presentation


Southern University student Bethuel Khamala won first place in a statewide oral presentation involving math, computer sciences and other subjects against other college physics students.


Khamala, a mathematics and physics graduate student with a concentration in physics, won the recognition at the 88th annual meeting of the Louisiana Academy of Sciences held March 8 in Alexandria.


Khamala won first place in the oral presentation category for Computer Science, Mathematics and Statistics, and Material Sciences and Engineering. His presentation "Accurate Electronic and Transport Properties of zinc-blende Zinc Sulfide."


The competition involved candidates for master degrees and doctoral degrees from around the state.


Khamala, a native of Kenya, said his presentation was just short of the 10-minute mark that the judges had set. "I was not nervous about it. I have attended seminars that help you with these kinds of presentations."


In fact, Khamala said he enjoyed the competition and question and answer period after his presentation. "They usually last about five minutes, but mine lasted almost 10 minutes. It was good because they asked what I knew."


The only cause for concern, Khamala said, was that he was competing about doctoral candidate students while he was a master's degree candidate.


Khamala, who plans to graduate this summer, said he wants to get a doctorate in computational science and eventually become a professor. "That is my passion," he said.


"Mr. Khamala's first place was due to both the exceptional accuracy of his results and also his mastery in presenting them," said Dr. Diola Bagayoka, his thesis advisor, and Chair of Physics Department.  "This award attests to the superior intellectual abilities Mr. Khamala developed through sustained effort."


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