Originally from Vanderbijlpark, Monja Gerber majored in microbiology and botany at North-West University. She completed an honours degree in plant protection, focussing on ecophysiology. In 2016, Gerber made a drastic move all the way to the Namib Desert and worked at Gobabeb Namib Research Institute while completing her master’s in environmental sciences.
Gerber is currently working on her doctorate in horticultural at Stellenbosch University. She says that her favourite thing about her research field is being able to learn more about the wonderful and intelligent design of plants. “It amazes me how complex nature is and humbles me at the same time,” she marvels.
Her love for nature is also expressed in her free time, foraging for mushrooms, and walking her dogs. In terms of future plans, Gerber is currently concentrating on successfully completing her doctorate, and doing it well. Thereafter, she has faith that the rest will fall into place. Kindness is part of the philosophy she lives by: “If speaking kindly to plants helps them grow then imagine what speaking kindly to humans can do.”
Image by Peartree Photography.