Tuesday, 10 October 2023: Two prestigious full bursaries valued at about R1 million have been awarded by Siemens–Energy to exceptional young scientists to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Engineering at the South African universities of their choice.
Kabelo Sekoere, 19, and Simthembile Hlehliso, 18, are Senakangwedi Secondary School learners in Botshabelo, Free State who participated at this year’s Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF) which was held at the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre in Boksburg from 3 to 6 October with their research project, “Solar power stand”.
The comprehensive bursaries provided by Siemens–Energy cover a wide range of expenses, including tuition fees, textbooks, accommodation, meal allowances, and the provision of a laptop to support their academic journey. These bursaries reflect Siemens’ commitment to nurturing young talent in the fields of engineering and science, ultimately contributing to the development of future leaders and innovators.
“Our project is based on improving the efficiency of the solar panels for future purposes by not changing its structure, but by providing it with resources to make it function at its best,” said Sekoere, who wanted to study medicine, but now plans to become an engineer.
“It has been estimated that by the year 2050 or 2060, about 70% of the world will be using solar panels; so instead of waiting to solve the problems of the solar panels by then, we’re solving them now. We found that debris being on top of the solar panel can prevent about 30% of the energy from being absorbed, and as most of the solar panels are placed at higher altitudes to receive sufficient energy, it is dangerous for people to clean them from there,” said Hlehliso, who plans to become an engineer.
The gold medal winning duo mostly enjoyed their interactions with other budding young scientists from around the country and participants from countries like Mexico and Mozambique, along with their excursion to the Johannesburg Zoo and Botanical Gardens while participating at the ISF.
Eskom Development Foundation Acting CEO, Mologadi Motshele, said: “At the Eskom Expo, young scientists are given the platform to apply their logical thinking, creativity, and innovation to address pressing problems within their communities. Eskom Development Foundation wholeheartedly provides support to these learners who are not only finding solutions but are emerging as inspirational figures among their peers. As they navigate the intricate landscape of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI), the Expo strives to ignite a lasting passion for innovation and steer them toward promising careers in these fields”.
Eskom Expo Executive Director, Parthy Chetty said “These learners hail from a township that lacks the resources found in most major cities, but that did not deter them from thinking creatively and pursuing their ideas to a prototype. The insight displayed by these learners goes beyond the school curriculum as they had to do a lot of research on their own. This is the calibre of learners produced by the Eskom Expo and it gives our country hope for a brighter future with great engineering ideas like those displayed by Kabelo and Simthembile.”
For the complete list of 2023 Eskom Expo International Science Fair winners, click the link: www.exposcience.co.za
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