Mrs. Palesa Phooko started her research career with the synthesis and characterization of Polyaniline using porphyrin complexes as catalysts, as part of her M.Sc. thesis. After obtaining M.Sc from National University of Lesotho, she joined NUL as a lecturer in physical chemistry and spectroscopy. She is currently holding this position. In addition to teaching and researching, she is a treasurer for Women in Science Lesotho an organisation that is committed to encouraging girls to pursue STEM careers in Lesotho. She has supervised undergraduate projects. Mrs Phooko has been a visiting scholar at University of Pennsylvania, USA. Her research interests include theoretical chemistry, synthesis and characterization of macromolecules for application as catalysts and sensors. She is the current Next Einstein Forum Ambassador.
Lesotho is a democratic, sovereign and independent country with the unique characteristic of being totally surrounded by its neighbour, the Republic of South Africa. The country is rich in Natural resources: Water, agricultural and grazing land, some diamonds and other minerals. However, Lesotho’s performance in STEM is still not so commendable but it is improving. Currently, the National University of Lesotho has setup the Innovation hub to promote STEM innovation. The Government of Lesotho thorough the Ministry of Science and communications has since passed the Science and Technology policy in 2006, but the progress is slow. Each year, the Lesotho and Maths Teachers Association (LSMTA) organizes the famous National Science Fair for primary and high schools in Lesotho to boost the passion for Science and Maths education.