TWO girls from Queen Elizabeth High School, Nokutenda Saurombe (16) and Ruvarashe Moyo (15), are set to represent Zimbabwe at the international Science Internship Program (SIP) to be virtually hosted by the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), in America.
The two, who are in Form Three, become the first African pupils to make it into this program where 320 school children across the globe are expected to participate.
The internship starts today and will run until August 14. In an interview, the two students promised to use the opportunity to learn new things and make collaborations with others.
“I really feel excited to be working with renowned scientists and collaborate with them. I am going to popularise astronomy across our continent, Africa,” she said Moyo.
Saurombe said: “I feel humbled to be representing my nation at this level. I believe this will create more opportunities for me and my vision is to come up with solutions and impact positively on people’s lives.”
Zimbabwe Science Fair director Mr Knowledge Chikundi described the development as a milestone for Zimbabwe.
“This development impresses us because our vision is to equip young Zimbabweans with skills and opportunities in science and technology.
“Seeing these two making it at such a highly competitive international programme, it says a lot about the passion in our young people for science and astronomy ,” he said.
UCSC professor and chair of the department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and founder of the SIP program Mr Raja Guha Thakurta told The Herald that they were excited to host students from Africa for the first time.
“The University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) Science Internship Programme (SIP) team is very excited that Ruvarashe and Nokutenda will be among this summer’s cohort of 320 interns from all over the world,” he said.
“They will be the first students from Zimbabwe to take part in SIP. In fact this will be the first time in its 13 years of operation that this program has participants from Africa.”
Tharkuta said the two will work on a research project called “We Are Stardust” which is at the intercession of science, culture and art as it brings together western science and indigenous knowledge about the universe in a beautiful way.
Among their previous projects Moyo made a project in which she experimented to see if one can generate electricity from bacteria in mud and she was able to generate 1,2 volts from that.
Last month she was a Genius Olympiad finalist and was awarded a scholarship worth US$12 000 to study at a university in United States.
Currently she is working on a project to turn bricks into electrical storage units.
Saurombe has previously done a project of turning plastic waste into fuel and won a silver medal at the Africa’s Science Buskers Festival this year among other achievements.