Ghana hosts African Science Week 2022 to inspire hope in STEM education

The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) has celebrated this year’s African Science Week 2022 by organizing a forum involving some trail-blazing scientists at the Academic City University College Accra on Wednesday.

The African Science week celebrates the contribution of Africa and African researchers to the construction of the world’s science heritage.

The event is part of a series of events being organized across five African sub-regions for the first time this year with Ghana and Niger chosen as hosts for West Africa.

In an address, NEF Ambassador Justina A. Onumah welcomed the participants and expressed delight at having the relevant stakeholders present for the occasion.

She also highlighted the importance of leveraging science and technology for human development and the belief that the Next Einstein can be an African.

The theme for the celebration was “Using the transforming power of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to propel the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals”.

The ‘Spotlight session with trailblazing Scientists,’ which was organized by NEF in partnership with WeGo Innovate, Academic City, and Ghana STEM Network, brought together three crack academic researchers of repute including Prof. Elsie Effah Kaufmann, University of Ghana and the National Science and Maths quiz mistress, Dr Michael Osae from the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) and Dr Peace Amoatey, University of Ghana.

The session was skillfully moderated by Dr Kamila Kabo-bah of Academic City University College who also asked probing questions to the guest panel.

The in-person and virtual audiences were treated to cutting edge research presentations by Dr Amoatey who touched on ‘Waste Water Treatment for Irrigation’, highlighting the danger of bacteria and metal contamination of vegetables and water bodies, and proposing treatment using sand filters.

Dr Michael Osae gave a fascinating presentation that explored bioengineering in the insect world focusing on a case study of the Black soldier fly which has inspired the production of animal feed, and organic fertilisers while also highlighting untapped opportunities and potentials in the field.

Prof. Effah Kaufmann gave a lecture on demystifying Ghana’s National Maths and Science Quiz, noting its objectives and history from 1993, the challenging years, and its evolution to the present competition a lot of people have come to love.

The panel fielded questions from the audience during the mentoring session bothering on the individuals who inspired them to take science seriously, dealing with setbacks, how scientific studies could be converted to solving real-life problems, and how females can survive the male-dominated science fields.

Prof Kaufmann advised the young scientists to prioritize their activities to achieve their aims in life by keeping their eyes fixed on the goal they set for themselves.

“Spend less time focusing on things that are not important. Prioritize and don’t pay too much attention to things that don’t matter. Solicit understanding and help from your family to achieve your aims. Help them (family) and do your best for them and by so doing they will also not disturb you when you really need it.”

Dr Amoatey, who is also a leakage management expert, said her dream is to see the Odaw river cleared of all its filth.

“My dream is to see the Odaw river completely clean. Engineering is not the solution. It is down to the behavior of people. My dream is to be able to have a leakage system at Ghana Water Company to safeguard water management from the early stage to response, right to the end.

On his part, Dr Osae stressed the need for scientists to find a way of monetizing their research and findings so it becomes easier for entrepreneurs to partner with them.

Another key highlight of the event was project presentations and exhibitions and demonstrations by some students from Academic City, Blue Crest and OpenLabs. Further, the Ghana STEM Network Team was also launched, coupled with STEM exhibitions from IOT Network Hub.

The event was attended by students and teachers of the Apostle Safo School of Arts and Science, Academic City and Blue Crest students, students from other academic institutions, science enthusiasts, and the media.

The weeklong event program began on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, with the Spotlight Session and ends on Thursday, May 19, 2022.

Other scheduled events include Africa Science Movie night on Friday, May 13, at the Ghana Tech Lab, Women-in-STEM Outreach to a junior high school, and the Climate Speaker Series to be held on May 19, 2022, at the ISSER Conference room.

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