Stellenbosch University (SU) awarded a total of 20 bursaries to learners at the 34th International Expo for Young Scientists.
The event was presented by Eskom from 7 to 10 October in Boksburg. Approximately 10 000 learners from South African, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland attended this year’s regional and international Expos.
Learners from both primary and high schools had the opportunity to present their science projects and enter it for a competition. It is firstly judged on a regional level, after which the winners of each region may attend the International Expo.
The competition covers 25 different categories, including agricultural science, chemistry, computer science, energy and environmental studies, engineering and social sciences. A team of judges, consisting of among others academics from South African universities, decide on the winners.
The aim of the Expo is to create awareness among learners about the wonders of science, to contribute to their knowledge, and to broaden their science horizons.
Ms Erika Hoffman, Project Coordinator at SUNSEP at SU, is the Expo Regional Coordinator in Stellenbosch. Her responsibilities include getting principals and teachers involved with the Expo, presenting workshops on scientific research to teachers and learners, as well as how school projects can be used as an entry for the Expo competition.
“At the regional level several other SU staff members from different faculties acted as judges. Each one decides which of the 25 categories’ projects they would like to judge. Some of them become mentors for the learners who participate in national competition,” said Hoffman.
Ms Pauline Hanekom and Ms Mariëtte van den Worm, both SU staff members, were on the judging panel for the national competition.
SU awarded a bursary worth R30 000 to all 20 category winners of the Expo Competition.
According to Ms Christelle Feyt, Senior Director for Prospective Student Services at SU, the bursaries will be reserved for the learners until such time that they decide to study at SU. The winners are all in different grades at school.
“If a learner therefore applies to study at SU in a specific year and is accepted, he/she can activate the bursary. SU’s bursary office has already received enquiries from excited matriculants who have applied to study at the University and have been accepted,” said Feyt.
According to her the Expo was an opportunity for SU to attract young learners to study here. “It was important for us to connect our brand with such a prestige event in order to build SU’s reputation.”
CAPTION: At the back is Ms Erika Hoffman, Project Coordinator at SUNSEP and Expo Regional Coordinator for Stellenbosch, and Ms Christelle Feyt, Senior Director: Prospective Student Services, with the 20 bursary winners.