Young scientist shows off her stuff

2018-06-05 06:00
Gabriele Gess with her project.

Gabriele Gess with her project.

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Gabriele Gess, a Grade 12 learner at St Cyprian’s School, took home fourth prize at an international science fair in the USA.

Every year hundreds of South Africa’s top young scientists compete at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair in the hopes of taking home prizes worth more than R4m and the chance to attend one of the prestigious international science fairs.

This year, nine young scientists were selected to travel to Pittsburgh in the USA to represent South Africa and their projects at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF).

Three of the learners won prizes at the world’s largest and most prestigious science fair, including one special award and two category awards. Over 1790 learners from 81 countries competed.

Local girl Gabriele took home fourth prize in the Animal Sciences category and $500 in prize money. Her project investigated the availability and sources of pollen collected by honey bees on a fruit farm in the Piket Bo-berg area in the Western Cape Province during the summer months (December to March) when there is little or no rainfall.

“Just being chosen to attend Intel ISEF is a huge honour. To attend an international fair of this nature is an incredible learning experience. The exposure these young scientists get is priceless and the opportunity to engage with other young scientists and leaders in their fields spurs many on to pursue careers in the sciences. To add a haul of prizes to the experience is just the cherry on the top!” says Parthy Chetty, executive director of the Eskom Expo.

“The competition at Intel ISEF is stiff but these learners truly are the cream of the crop. They are doing exciting, innovative work trying to solve some of South Africa’s most serious challenges using very innovative approaches. We are delighted that these learners have had this opportunity to gain this kind of exposure and we are very proud that they represented South Africa so well on the international stage,” says Pieter Pretorius, chairperson of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists board of directors.

“Every year we are impressed by the ingenuity shown by the participants at Eskom Expo. Their commitment to finding innovative solutions to society’s most pressing problems such as sustainability is admirable. Eskom Expo recognises and rewards their contribution to the global knowledge base.”

The expo provides a platform for the learners to increase their awareness and knowledge of the wonders of science and hopes to broaden their scientific horizons and encourage them to pursue careers in the sciences by igniting a passion for innovation in science­.

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