Enthusiastic young scientists seized the opportunity to exhibit their remarkable scientific and innovative research projects at this year’s regional final of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists in the West Coast Region.
A total of 140 learners in grades 4 to 12 from the region gathered to present their research projects at the event held at Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) from 7 to 8 August. The evaluation of the 98 projects on display was carried out by 48 judges, comprising educators, specialists, scholars, and avid Eskom Expo supporters.
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 Environmental Studies category, with 22 innovative projects submitted. Furthermore, notable participation was observed in categories such as Biomedical and Medical Sciences, and Social Sciences.
Eskom Expo’s West Coast Regional Science Fair Director, Ursula Boys, emphasised that the region celebrated a decade of science excellence and innovation. “Our alumni are evidence of our invested science efforts by transforming our communities and learners through evidence-based science. Margo Adonis, an alumna, currently working at the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation was the guest speaker at the awards ceremony. During the celebration of Women’s Month, Margo is officially recognised as one of the ‘International Top 50 Iconic Women of the World 2023’. We are very encouraged by the level of interest shown this year with an increase in learner participation and projects that were showcased. The generous sponsorships from our partners are highly appreciated and we are looking forward to what the next ten years, and beyond, will hold,” said Boys.
“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the esteemed sponsors who have displayed an unwavering commitment to the advancement of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) development. Our sincere appreciation goes to Eskom, the Saldanha Bay Municipality, Umoya Energy, the Department of Water and Sanitation, the South African National Parks, the West Coast Fossil Park, Sea Harvest, Club-Mykonos, and Zoom Fibre,” Boys added.
At the region’s awards ceremony, six exceptional young scientists were awarded the prestigious Eskom Special Awards. The learners, who received Bluetooth speakers, were:
- Best female: Nina Schwartz from Hopefield High School
- Best innovation: Thiedu Du Preez from Vredenburg High School
- Best energy project: Chelsea Collair and Eunique Africa from Vredenburg High School
- Best development project: Robyn Van Rooi & Zinhle Mali from Diazville Primary School
Other special awards were awarded at the event, including:
- Top Junior Project: Lisa Raath from Curro Langebaan Private School
- Top Senior Project: Nina Schwartz from Hopefield High School
A total of 51 learners received bronze medals, fourteen were awarded silver, and eight received highly esteemed gold medals. Notably, learners from Hopefield High School secured the highest number of gold medals, and overall medals at the event.
Eskom Expo Executive Director, Parthy Chetty, emphasised the need to nurture young scientists through the Eskom Expo. “The event forms a vital part of South Africa’s broader strategy to invest in skills development, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and innovation (STEMI) at the school level while providing a platform for talented young scientists to present their innovations and gain exposure to exciting career opportunities in diverse scientific fields. The impressive projects showcased by learners, particularly those from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and girls, highlight a promising future ahead. Congratulations to all the medal winners, and best wishes for even greater accomplishments at the upcoming Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF),” he said.
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.