Unleashing innovation: Port Elizabeth Regional Expo shines spotlight on young scientists

Young scientists in the Port Elizabeth Region had a unique opportunity to showcase their remarkable scientific and innovative research projects at this year’s regional final of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, winning various medals and prizes.

Rhodes University awarded bursaries to Mpho Mketho, a Grade 11 learner at Ndzondelelo High School and Sara Laher, a Grade 11 learner at Al Azhar Institute for their outstanding research projects at the event held at the Nelson Mandela University’s Indoor Sports Centre from 3 to 4 August 2023. Rikyle Jordaan, a Grade 11 learner at Paterson High School was awarded a R5,000 voucher by RS South Africa and Mitchelle Chininga, a Grade 11 learner at Alexander Road High School was awarded the Continental South Africa Award.

A total of 249 learners in grades 4 to 12 from the region gathered to present their research projects at the event. The evaluation of the 217 projects on display was carried out by 62 judges, comprising educators, specialists, scholars, and avid Eskom Expo supporters.

Regional Science Fair Director, Dr. Marilyn Gibbs, said: “The exhibited new thinking and problem-solving ideas from our learners are a unifying and positively impactful force. It’s a refreshing breath of hope, marking a stride towards an innovative future. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to our sponsors, whose active investment is illuminating the path for our dedicated young scientists”.

This regional expo was one of 38 regional expos planned across all provinces in South Africa. This year witnessed an impressive influx of entries in the Chemistry and Bio-Chemistry category with 34 innovative projects submitted. Furthermore, notable participation was observed in the Energy and Engineering categories.

Eight exceptional young scientists were awarded the prestigious Eskom Special Awards at the region’s awards ceremony. The learners, who received Bluetooth speakers, were:

  • Best female (Junior): Ruhi Doorgapershad, Grade 6, Theodor Herzl School
  • Best innovation (Junior): Matthew Browne, Grade 6, Grey Junior School
  • Best energy project (Junior): Mason Groch, Grade 6, Grey Junior School
  • Best development project (Junior): Malwanduxolo Siko, Grade 5, Seyisi Primary School
  • Best female (Senior): Sara Laher, Grade 11, Al Azhar institute
  • Best innovation (Senior): Drazene Chansen, Grade 10, Paterson High School
  • Best energy project (Senior): Zahrah Davids, Grade 9, Al Azhar institute
  • Best development project (Senior): Mpho Mketho, Grade 11, Ndzondelelo High School

Furthermore, a total of 72 learners received bronze medals, 65 were awarded silver, and 75 received the highly esteemed gold medals. Notably, learners from Grey Boys Junior secured the highest number of gold medals, and overall medals at the event.

Eskom Expo Executive Director, Parthy Chetty, said: “Eskom Expo’s promotion of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and innovation (STEMI) at the school level is exemplified by the significant role played by this event. It not only provides a platform for talented young scientists to showcase their innovations but also exposes them to a world of exciting career opportunities in diverse scientific fields. The outstanding projects presented by learners, particularly those from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and girls, serve as a beacon of hope for a promising future. Congratulations to all the well-deserved medal winners, and we extend our best wishes for even greater achievements at the upcoming Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF).”

Advancing learners from the region will have the opportunity to compete against the country’s most exceptional young scientists at the ISF, scheduled for October 2023. This prestigious event offers participants the chance to win prizes, bursaries, scholarships, and various other opportunities. Moreover, learners stand a chance to be selected to present their research and innovations at international science fairs held in the United States of America, Asia, Europe, and across Africa.

For dates and venues of upcoming regional science fairs, click here.


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