A young scientist from Cape Town has secured a partial bursary at the Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF) for his remarkable achievement in developing a platform enabling individuals in need to easily pinpoint and access tailored support services and resources within their vicinity – all based on their specific requirements and current location.
The University of Witwatersrand’s Faculty of Sciences awarded a Partial Bursary to the value of R40,000 to Matthew Collier-Reed, a 17-year-old learner at Pinelands High School for the research project entitled, “Empowering communities: Connecting in-need individuals with essential resources”. The young scientist also bagged a gold medal for his research project.
“I felt very motivated after winning my awards. I felt as if my hard work and countless hours had paid off, and that I was being recognised for the impact that my project could have on the communities and people around us. I saw it not only as an award to myself, but to the project, and opportunities that it could give to others in the future,” said Collier-Reed.
“I ended up compiling the largest registry of support services in the Western Cape, and I’m currently expanding to other provinces and countries. The Community Support website, the platform I created, aims to provide anonymous, accessible and user-friendly service to communities around the world,” he added.
Collier-Reed is passionate about indoor rock-climbing, horse riding, and competing with his dog in dog-agility. He is a leader in the Scouting community and does IT as an additional subject, along with cycle/mountain biking and software development in his spare time.
He explained that he was driven to develop the project after seeing the impact around him of people being unable to locate crucial services when in need, even though those services existed.
“I am passionate about Computer Science and hope to do work in the field. I want to start my own business or work with a tech company doing project management, development, advisory or similar positions. I plan on studying Computer Science, to continue my progress in the field,” he said.
Eskom Acting Group Executive for Government & Regulatory Affairs, Natasha Sithole, said: “Being the steadfast supporter of the Eskom Expo, we were overjoyed to witness how it has evolved into a fertile ground for nurturing the aspirations of young scientists. Eskom firmly believes that investments in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Innovation (STEMI) act as the catalyst for uncovering enduring solutions to our nation’s pressing challenges. The ISF showcased youthful ingenuity, as learners explored diverse topics, from behavioural studies to pioneering experiments, IT, machine learning, artificial intelligence applications, and the application of physics and mathematics”.
Eskom Expo Executive Director, Parthy Chetty said: “The purpose of the Eskom Expo is to grow scientists and engineers for South Africa and this winning project from Matthew is proof that we are on the right track. This winning project was a response to a real-life problem in the learner’s immediate environment and he set about to solve it. This grassroots innovation would not have been found had it not been for the unique platform the Eskom Expo provides to our learners. It is therefore important for more schools, teachers and learners to participate in the Eskom Expo to win life-changing awards and contribute to the technology knowledge base of South Africa.”