Minje le Roux from Durbanville Primary School in Cape Town conducted an award-winning Eskom Expo for Young Scientists research project to identify the root causes of traffic congestion at her school, and propose potential solutions.
The 12-year-old was in Grade 6 last year when she bowled over judges at the Eskom Expo International Science Fair held at Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre, winning the Top Junior Scientist award and a cash prize of R50,000. She was also awarded a Gold medal, won the Best in Category (Junior Social Science) award, and was awarded a laptop sponsored by the Central University of Technology.
“Winning was totally unexpected, as this was the first time I entered Eskom Expo. When I heard my name being called, it was surreal – surely an amazing moment in my life, and one that I will never forget,” she says.
“This opportunity opened my eyes to the beautiful world of science, and I have met wonderful people on the way,” she adds.
Le Roux’s research project, “Tricky Traffic”, focused on the traffic congestion in the immediate vicinity of her school, Durbanville Primary, during the drop-offs of learners in the morning and pick-ups in the afternoon.
“I could see how stressed-out parents were when dropping their kids at school in the morning. Waiting for the traffic lights, parking spots and parents cutting each other off to ensure their kids get to school on time,” she says.
“When the opportunity came to participate in the Eskom Expo of Young Scientists, I thought this was an ideal opportunity to make a difference in our community, because it is something that affects me and my friends on a daily basis,” she adds.
Le Roux, whose hobbies include doing art and playing netball, is an avid animal lover who enjoys fostering kittens. She loves cats and has assisted in fostering about 30 kittens until suitable homes are found for them.
Talking about her passion for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and innovation (STEMI), Le Roux said: “I am quite curious and creative by nature. l like to understand how things work and finding creative ways to solve problems”.
The youngster encouraged her peers to be curious and never stop asking questions. “Millions of people saw the apple fall, but Isaac Newton was the only one who asked why? Take part in the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists – it is a great experience!”
Registration to take part in Eskom Expo is open. Learners in grades 4 to 12, along with learners from TVET colleges that are in NC2 to NC4, are invited to register their Eskom Expo projects by clicking here. Learners who registered before can click here to log in and update their details.