Alzheimer’s medicine dispenser helps Gauteng teen bag Eskom Science Expo award

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Gabriella Fedetto, a Grade 10 learner from St Stithians College in Randburg was crowned this year’s best young scientist at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair in Boksburg last Friday.

The 35th edition of the science project competition for learners in grades six to 12 was held over three days at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre where 573 learners from across South Africa and other countries including Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe, presented their projects to judged by a panel of experts.

Fedetto received the top honour for her automated Alzheimer’s medicine dispenser which reminds patients to take it periodically.

Fedetto said she got the idea for the project after having done community service with her school at a health care facility where she witnessed how Alzheimer’s patients constantly have to be given their medication by a health care worker. The problem here comes when a patient is alone or someone forgets to give them their medication on time.

Fedetto was awarded a laptop and will go through an interview process to determine if she can go on to represent South Africa in international science fairs next year. She also received the award in the Best Female Project category.

Overall, medals and prizes worth R2.5 million were given to hundreds of learners on Thursday and Friday’s prize giving ceremonies.

Malan Steenkamp from Port Elizabeth won the Derek Gray Award which comprised a gold medal and a trip to the Stockholm International Youth Science Summit at the Nobel Awards Ceremony as well as a full bursary to study at the University of Pretoria.

Special awards in the following categories were also handed out during Thursday evening’s prize giving ceremony:

  • Best Project from a Rural Area – Kagiso Morake, Technical High School, Klerksdorp (North West)
  • Best Energy Project – Alecia Brits, Hoërskool Diamantveld, Kimberley (Northern Cape)
  • Best Energy Efficiency Project – Jennifer Viljoen, Laerskool Proteapark, Bojanala (North West)

“Every time I come to the Eskom Expo, my belief in the future of South Africa is strengthened. All the finalists have got the capacity to inspire their fellow learners in their schools and communities, and they should do just that,” Eskom’s Dr Ben Ngubane said at Friday awards ceremony.