Empowering young people through Science

10 Feb, 2023 - 00:02 0 Views
Empowering young  people through Science Sicelo Dube

eBusiness Weekly

Leslie Mupeti

“I want more girls to join the STEM Lady and take up STEM careers and be entrepreneurs as well. I’m in my element when I talk about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.” These are the words of Sicelo Dube or as she’s affectionately known, The Stem Lady.

She’s made a name for herself as an entrepreneur and science communicator, advocating for girls to get more involved in STEM subjects in school. To push forward with that vision, Sicelo founded The STEMFem Network, a platform facilitating the mentoring and nurturing of female students to help them take up and sustain interest in the STEM field. This network also strongly supports talented underprivileged girls who are interested in STEM careers through financial support to study STEM.

Actions speak louder than words. It’s good to tell a person how to do something but it’s better to show them how it’s done. When it comes to education and emphasizing the importance of education to girls, Sicelo leads by example.

She has amassed degrees from revered institutions such as The University of Zimbabwe where she did a BSc in Biological Science and Biochemistry, National University of Science and Technology where she did an MSc in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, a PDM in HIV/AIDS from University of Stellenbosch, a certificate in Entrepreneurship and Community development from Drake University (USA) and a certificate in Bio Innovations and Entrepreneurship from Stanford University (USA).

Sicelo herself came from an underprivileged background, being raised by her aunt and uncle after her parents passed away. She was schooled at Minda Mission school by a fund and she got a lot of support in her community growing up. With a passion for teaching science, Sicelo became a Biology teacher at Masiyephambili college in Bulawayo in 2010. She still possesses that passion as she is now a part time Lab Technician at Hellenic academy.

With her top notch leadership qualities, Sicelo is also the President of the Zimbabwe Science Lab Technician Trust, designing programs for capacity in STEM education and industry.

“I have been a STEM student, I have been a STEM innovator and I am a STEM entrepreneur,” says Sicelo confidently. As an entrepreneur she’s the founder of LEC Biotech, A+ Manufacturing, LEC Medical and Clean Box.

These are all companies doing wonders in the male dominated STEM and entrepreneurship sector. Of note, Clean box was at the forefront in the fight against Covid-19, leading the charge in sanitisation and disinfection. Sicelo is not only focused on the girl child but on the development of the boy child as well.

She’s the founder of the Innovators hub club (IHC), a club which promotes entrepreneurship at grassroots level for both males and females. IHC is in most of the tertiary institutions in Zimbabwe and some high schools in the country.

“One of our success stories is a guy called Wisdom, he comes from an underprivileged family and we managed to take him back to school so that he can at least be able to speak English when he’s pitching his ideas to investors.”

Wisdom is a young man who managed to make a home-made generator and car despite not being in any physics class in school.

Sicelo’s work in STEM hasn’t gone unnoticed. She’s received countless awards from both local and international institutions. Of note, she was appointed the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) ambassador for Zimbabwe from 2019 to 2021.

She also won the Shield for young women advancing science at the International day for women in science in 2018. In 2021, she was listed in the top ten most outstanding young persons in Zimbabwe by Junior Chambers International (JCI) Zimbabwe. Sicelo is also a former winner of the FEMBIOBIZ (Female in BioScience Business) award in Zimbabwe.

In conclusion, I won’t say much, but I’ll end with this quote from Karen Tse.

“When a woman rises, she lifts everyone around her.”

 Leslie Mupeti is a brand strategist and creative Innovator. He can be reached for feedback on [email protected] or +263 785 324 230. His Twitter and Facebook is @lesmupeti.


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