Nozipho Gumbi

FameLab SA 2016 Winner and International Finalist

What are you currently doing (studies/work)?

I am currently in the last year of my PhD study, which focuses mainly on the development of advanced methods of water treatment.

What drove you to enter FameLab?

It was the desire to share my research project with a wider audience, apart from the limited scientific community that I am surrounded by. I realised that experts in one’s respective field are good but non-experts are also very good. It was also a way to grow my confidence with public speaking.

How did you find your FameLab experience? What still stands out today?

My Famelab journey was a huge learning experience. It exposed me to a range of scientific and mathematical related studies. I had never, for once, thought that mathematical studies can be presented in a fun and engaging way and still maintain their mathematical significance. What stood out for me is the fact that we are all in some way working on research projects or studies that aim to make this world a better place, regardless of the country, nationality, gender or race that one comes from.

How did your perceptions about science communication and public engagement with science change through participating in FameLab?

Before participating in FameLab, my understanding of science communication was very limited. What it meant for me was my peers or me presenting our research findings at a scientific conference or through written work, such as sending the work out for publication in a good/ high impact factor journal. This is because, as an academic, your career and promotion is entirely dependent on journal publication record.  However, through FameLab, I have since learned that academics can’t operate in isolation from the world’s very real problems. Science communication isn’t just about you. It’s about the future of science.

Did FameLab impact you in any other way?

Besides the obvious that it grew my confidence with public speaking, it made me eager to want to help others and convince them to participate in FameLab and in other forms of scientific presentations. Through this activity, I came to realise that for some of my peers, even if they’d like to present their scientific concepts in layman’s terms, they do not know where to start and how to do it. Therefore, FameLab is good start, and many other platforms similar to FameLab are needed going forward.

What would you say to young scientists thinking about taking part in FameLab?

I encourage every young scientist to definitely take part in FameLab, as this platform provides you with a life changing opportunity to grow your confidence with regards to talking about your science, not only to your peers but to a more general and wider audience. You get a chance to interact and make friends with other young scientists from across the globe. To think that, your very own testimony about the kind work that you do can affect the kinds of laws and regulations that are put in place, is enough to convince one to just do it!!! You have everything else to gain.