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Civil Engineering’s No1 Student

Young civil engineer graduate Leungo Carol Lentswe has recently received five awards at the University of Botswana 2021 graduation ceremony.

The 24-year-old Tutume born engineer, received the Botswana Institute of Engineers Prize, for the most outstanding student in her year, the Dean’s Prize, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, for the most outstanding student in the final year of Bachelor of Engineering and Technology who has obtained at least a 4.0 GPA.

She also received the Lady Olebile Masire Prize, awarded to a student with the highest grades in the Faculty of Engineering, the CISNA ’93 Information Technology Prize Engineering and Technology awarded to the best final year degree students in the Department of Engineering and Technology with at least a 4.0 GPA as well as the IASTED 2006 Prize, awarded to one student in the Faculty of Engineering and Technology with a final cumulative GPA of at least 4.5.

Our Reporter Portia Mlilo had a chat with this young engineer about her recent awards and future career and studies plan.

You won five awards from the recent UB graduation, congratulations. How does that feel and what does it mean to you?
It feels great but studying at the university, the purpose was not really to become the best. We had fun, enjoyed our studies. It means a lot; there are lots of opportunities now. It gave me exposure and many companies have approached me. Maybe I will find a sponsor for my Masters Degree.

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Q. Why did you choose to study civil engineering?
It really comes from a young age, I had fun in building houses and constructing roads with mud and sand. I always got into trouble and got some lashes from my mother Boga for being dirty. When I was at junior school, my parents lectured me on career that I can choose and civil engineering was one of them. They had an impact on my choice.

Q. There is a stereotype that engineering is mostly for men, what is your take on that?
Well, I think people view engineering as something hard, especially in construction; they feel we are not strong enough. I am working in the office designing; I just do site visits to appreciate what contractors are doing. It is not really a men’s job.

Q. What do you design?
I am currently designing for a dam project. We also design for pipelines and roads. Civil engineering is very broad but here, we design for water resources and anything to do with the soil.
Q. What does it take for one to become an engineering student?
If you have the desire, go for it! There are some requirements; I had 42 points when I was admitted at the university. I had to study Bachelor of Science General and then I decided to brunch into Civil Engineering.

Q. A lot of young people find it difficult to concentrate on their studies and get easily distracted. How did you manage?
We had a study group and we were very dedicated and organized in our studies. After group discussions, I would go home relax, listen to music and watch movies then remind myself of what we discussed with my friends. That’s how I managed to be the best student, my classmates really helped.

Q. What challenges did you face in your studies?
I would say studying alone is really challenging, you need to do it with others. I would get sleepy when I tried to study alone (she laughs) because it is boring. During Covid 19 outbreak, we discussed on WhatsApp group, sought help when one got stuck and helped each other.

Q. How did you join Knight Piesod?
After finishing my course, I was looking for a job sending CV and transcript. One day as I was going through LinkedIn I found a young woman enjoying her job working at Knight Piesod. I went through the company profile and realised they celebrate their employees, I developed interest and applied and I was called for an interview. Here I am.

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Leungo Lentswe
BRIGHT FUTURE: Leungo Lentswe

Q. What do you enjoy most about being an engineer?
There are a lot of challenges, which help one to grow. You learn a lot of things. It is good for personal and career development.
Q. Kindly share with our readers what Civil Engineers do?
It is very diverse from technical, transportation, water, and structures. All of these we get to design and solve problems like right now we have inter-sections to address traffic congestions. That’s a solution.
Q. How do you organize your typical day?
Here, our culture is that you give yourself a job and deadline; you do not wait for your supervisor to give you a task. Obviously a project will come with a programme so give yourself a task, after you are done you show it to your supervisor. If it is fine, you move on to another task. That is how I organise my day.

Q. What do you think makes a great engineer?
Great engineers do not only think technical but also outside of the technical. Like what kind of solution would you provide to a particular problem if you were not a technical person.

Q. What advice can you give to learners especially youth?
They should be bold and brave. Go for what you want and also if you set your objectives right, you would have a direction to where you want to go. Set your objectives and use the resources available like technology, use the Internet for research. It is not wrong to ask, you will never know if you don’t ask.

Q. What are your future career and academic plans?
To continue working as an engineer and obviously you grow as you work. Five years from now I will be a professional engineer and I would want to be a design lead in projects. Right now I am just a junior engineer. I also want to do my Maters. I want to be a specialist in tailings in ten years to come because it is very rare to find them in Botswana.

Q. Who is your inspiration?
Well, I never really thought about it but what I can say is inspiration also comes from inside. Inspire yourself to be the best. My mother Boga Lentswe is also my inspiration, she raised me as a single mother though my uncles helped her and I am what I am because of her. Mama we made it!

Q. Thank God it’s Friday, what are your plans for the weekend?
I had a chat with my boss and he said for me to personally develop, I need to get out of my comfort zone. I am going to buy myself a book, “Good girls don’t own the corner office. I will be reading it and watching my favourite Netfix Korean drama. That is how I kill my time.

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