Two South African Female Scientists are among this year’s Oğuzhan Özkaya Education – Karademir Science Energy Engineering Fair (OKSEF) in Turkey. However, the two budding scientists are competing with other young scientists from 25 countries. This year’s Oğuzhan Özkaya Education – Karademir Science Energy Engineering Fair ran from June 11 to 15.
Kelsi Hewitt is from Pietermaritzburg Girl’s School while Anica Dennis is from Potchefstroom Girl’s High School in North West. The South African female scientists were selected during the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (ISF) in October 2018.
During the event, Hewitt and Dennis showcased exceptional science projects. Consequently, this earned them a spot at the global event. Speaking about their selection, the Eskom Expo Executive Director, Parthy Chetty said,
“Eskom Expo for Young Scientists is once again pleased to see young [South African] female scientists excelling in their field. More so, they come from fairly small towns, which often don’t get the proper recognition for producing such talent. [However] these young girls have earned their place to be on the international stage. I’m quite confident they will not only do South Africa proud but will also undergo a life-changing experience in Turkey.”
What the young South African female scientists are presenting in Turkey
OKSEF is the most prestigious science fair for high school students. Getting a chance to feature at the event is a great privilege. However, it is also a great learning and networking platform for young scientists. The young South African female scientists are presenting unique discoveries and resources that will make life better.
Dennis will be showcasing an expert system mobile app that relies on symptoms to show the urgency of a child’s illness. Consequently, the app can tell how urgently a child needs to get to a healthcare professional. The danger signs and urgency are in three classes; low, medium, and high. According to Dennis, the aim is to tackle child mortalities in rural areas. Dennis believes if parents know the urgency of their child’s condition, many children will be saved.
Hewitt, on the other hand, is searching for an alternative to expensive chemicals for livestock dipping. She examined Aloe Ferox to know if it has properties that deter ticks. Ticks are one of the major plagues to farm animals. In her study, she took the pulverized leaves and liquid from Aloe and placed it in a container containing ticks. Subsequently, she monitored their movement. Hewitt’s findings show Aloe Ferox has signs of deterring ticks.
The Oğuzhan Özkaya Education – Karademir Science Energy Engineering Fair (OKSEF) is organized by Oğuzhan Özkaya Educational Institution. According to the organization website, the aim of the competition is to “teach how to learn the language of science at a young age, and taste and enjoy doing research anywhere in the world by using it to teach everything.”
The competition covers physics, chemistry, biology, energy-engineering, and mathematics-computer. There is a Culture Night where students from different countries share their respective cultures. Consequently, besides participation in the prestigious event, these young South African female scientists will be showing African culture to the world.