Broadcom Foundation Award Winner Featured on National Geographic SCIENCE FAIR: THE SERIESProgram Highlights
On December 10, 2023, the world will meet Memory Bvungo in the new National Geographic documentary called SCIENCE FAIR: THE SERIES that will be streamed on Disney+ and Hulu. Watch the trailer here https://ow.ly/lVSy50Q81wn!
Memory is a shining STEM star from Zimbabwe who just completed high school and has been winning awards and solving problems in her community for years.
Last year she won the Broadcom Foundation award at the Africa Science Buskers Festival that is given to the top 5 overall projects. She was selected to represent Zimbabwe at the 2022 Regeneron ISEF for her project on producing sustainable fuel from reeds and won a Grand Award in 3rd Place in Energy: Sustainable Materials and Design Category.
We will follow Memory on her journey for sustainable fuel production in the series that captures the spirit of the African Science Buskers Festival which has been sponsored by the Broadcom Foundation for five years.
Here’s a preview of Memory’s quest to impact the world and inspire others:
Tell us about being filmed.
It was out of the norm for me, but the experience was exhilarating – the sound checks, learning the crew’s cool terminology; it was all new and fun.
What I particularly loved about filming was the responsibility and affirmations it brought to me. It reminded me each day I had a duty to my country and continent, giving me an immense sense of hope for Zimbabwean science. I made it my goal to paint a vivid picture of the promising work of scientists in my country that came before me and will follow me. Their voices gave me strength and courage to speak to various and diverse crowds.
Being a part of something far greater than myself and representing young African girls of color in STEM was a huge weight to carry initially, but I viewed the opportunity as a letter to the younger me, reminiscing on what I needed to hear as I pursued scientific solutions to the problems my country faced in the early stages of my journey. Everything simply flowed from my heart after.
What do you hope people will learn from you and your journey?
I hope youth can learn more about responsibility to the world and know that the future is in our hands. Though we may not play a part in some of the problems we face today, we should normalize being accountable for them, and that is the only way to make the world a better place. I hope people can learn that passion and perseverance are essential in pursuing their endeavors and like faith, these two can move mountains.
How do you influence young people to work to solve problems they care about?
I believe all solutions lie in our surroundings. One of the challenges I faced as I mentored other young scientists in my country was the idea that it took an extraordinary mind to come up with a solution when all the solutions to our problems lie in our day-to-day lives and routines.
They should not be swayed by the lack of resources and should utilize whatever is available to them. It is important to be aware and conscious of our five senses throughout the day, but different stimuli can hit us from any part of our senses and most of it carries solutions.”
Stimuli are powerful. And to bring this into context, my reed biofuel was because of me seeing the reeds that covered our streets every day on my way to school. Mistaking this plant for sugarcane in my aunt’s field, which is the source of our current bioethanol, was another sight stimuli. Through taste I was able to distinguish the two and the idea finally stuck.
What do you say to young people who see problems in their community?
I hope they are challenged to be a part of the solution.