Parktown High School for Girls makes SA proud in Tunisia

Alexia Hilton Smedmor first interacted with the science fair through Parktown's initiative in Grade 9.

Parktown High School for Girls Grade 10 learner, Alexia Hilton Smedmor was awarded a silver medal at the International Festival of Engineering, Science, and Technology held in Mahdia recently.

The programme was an enriching experience and showcased projects from over 20 countries including Switzerland, India and China. It also included trips and excursions for participants to discover the Tunisian culture.

The competition included projects exhibited by university students.

Alexia said her time in Tunisia was an unforgettable experience, “I had the opportunity to interact with individuals from diverse parts of the world, learn about a myriad of innovative projects, and discover novel solutions.”

She added that she found the opportunity to be assessed invigorating because it provided a platform to express her enthusiasm and discuss the efforts put into her project.

Besides securing a silver medal, the Grade 10 learner gained invaluable experiences, established meaningful friendships, and gleaned lessons that she will treasure for a lifetime.

Before embarking on her journey to Tunisia, Alexia participated in the Eskom Expo. “I first became involved with the science fair through an initiative instituted in the Grade 9 syllabus. Each year, Grade 9 learners are required to develop a project that constitutes part of their overall term grade and only those students who demonstrate great passion and create suitable projects are chosen to participate in the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists.”

She explained that she was fortunate to be one of the chosen learners for the Eskom Expo. She was able to not only expand her scientific knowledge but also improve her project.

After participating in the regional competition, the science guru was chosen to attend the international science fair hosted by Eskom, which eventually led to her selection for Tunisia.

Alexia had numerous takeaways from the expo and said it was an enlightening experience.

“Through participating in the Generation Z meeting – where around 45 participants were given a list of problems from NASA and had to collaborate to find a solution – I had the opportunity to engage with some extraordinary minds. The process also helped me discover more about myself and my aspirations as both a scientist and an individual.”

She aspires to pursue a career as a natural resource economist, a field that explores the interplay between human economics and natural ecosystems to foster green economies. Her ultimate goal is to fulfil her childhood ambition of contributing to the restoration of both South Africa and the world at large.

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