School of Engineering


Son Follows in Father’s Engineering Footsteps

‘I have always been surrounded by engineers,’ says Mr Dawit Seyoum, who graduated with an MSc degree in Civil Engineering.

‘Growing up I was keen to solve anything I saw as a problem or optimise processes I recognised as being due for an update. I decided to study Engineering as I found this line of work exciting because it involves a lot of problem solving,’ said Seyoum, whose father, Professor Tilahun Seyoum Workneh, is the programme co-ordinator for Agricultural Engineering at UKZN.

Seyoum’s MSc supervisors, Professor Derek Stretch and Dr Justin Pringle encouraged and supported his interest in fluid mechanics and sediment transport.

His dissertation, titled: Investigation of XBeach Cross-Shore Capacity Under Fixed Model Parameters, examined the ability of a numerical model to recreate real world sediment transport conditions. ‘This was done in order to build a parameterized volumetric sediment transport model,’ said Seyoum.

‘Building the parameterised sediment transport model would be the next natural step to take after this,’ he added.

Discussing the impact of his research work, Seyoum said: ‘It will help up-and-coming researchers have something to refer back to when they want to use a numerical model (XBeach) to determine the effect of wave conditions on a coastal environment.’

Seyoum is currently working in the finance sector but believes he will find a way to merge his interests in engineering and finance in the future.

He thanked his family, friends, girlfriend and supervisors who helped him on his postgraduate journey.

Postgraduate Administrator Ms Ausie Luthuli recalled when Seyoum initially came to register for an MSc: ‘He joined the queue outside my office and was very respectful. I hope he can join us for a PhD!’

Words: Sanelisiwe Mahlase

Photograph: Supplied