On 4 August 2022, AIMS South Africa hosted eight of 100 RISE global winners. RISE, an initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust, identifies young people aged 15 to 17 who need opportunity and support for life as they work to serve others. The programme offers a lifetime of benefits including scholarships, mentorship, career development and funding opportunities to help them work toward solving humanity’s most pressing challenges. The Residential Summit is a fully-funded, three-week summit with other members of the Rise Global Winner cohort. It is held on a rotational basis globally for each new cohort. The 2022 summit took place in Cape Town, South Africa. As part of the summit, RISE winners were expected to interact with partner organisations. Thus, AIMS as one of the RISE partners in Africa had the pleasure of hosting a very high-functioning self-directed group of RISE Global winners with an interest in STEM. They were accompanied by their two facilitators.
The programme of the day was designed to expose the guests (the winners) to various cutting-edge research conducted at AIMS. The guests had an opportunity to engage in dialogue with the AIMS staff, students, alumni and researchers and work in small groups through a hands-on activity. The programme activities allowed the guests to demonstrate leadership, knowledge, collaborative and communication skills, professional curiosity and creativity. They were further afforded a platform to showcase lines of inquiry and systems thinking tools, and ask questions about AIMS as a scientific organisation.
AIMS South Africa Director, Prof Barry Green; Manager of the House of Science, Dr Rejoyce Gavhi-Molefe; and AIMS Outreach Senior Manager, Mr Sampson Kofi Adotey, gave guests an overview of AIMS’ vision and missions. They also shared the AIMS academic, research and public engagement and science communication programme, and its impact/footprint locally and internationally. The guests were also exposed to the AIMS short film premiere titled, ‘Wajenzi’, a science in Africa movie that seeks to engage the general public and galvanise support for African scientific excellence. For the hands-on activity, the guests had to design a public engagement strategy as a scientific group of advisors to encourage the AIMS community and public to give back and encourage public trust in science. They were also exposed to the personal experiences and areas of expertise of AIMS current students and alumni through speed mentoring and networking lunch sessions. The mentors included Drs David Attipoe (Industry Immersion Africa managing director), Lorène Jeantet (postdoctoral researcher), Simukai Utete (academic director), Joel Lontsi and Hosana Ranaivomanana (tutors), and Mr Rockefeller, Ms Dorcas Asare and Ms Thembelihle Dlamini (master’s students). The event was organised and facilitated by Dr Gavhi-Molefe and Mr Adotey.