“Wits had an overwhelming response from students eager to partake in this year’s competition.” -Refilwe Mabula.
Wits PhD candidate, Brian Kariithi, has claimed the top spot in the Wits Famelab competition. The Wits leg of the competition, which took place on Friday, April 9, via Zoom. Kariithi is set to represent the institution at the national FameLab semi–finals.
FameLab is a science communication skills competition which allows the participation of students from science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)fields. “My winning talk was about using stem cells to develop more physiologically relevant cellular models for use in drug development research, as well as drug safety and efficacy.” said Kariithi. “I was truly honoured and surprised to win the Wits heat as there were so many great talks given and such a high level of scientific research. It was a great moment for me as it was a moment of realization that science communications might be a good thing to pursue in my career.” Kariithi, a pharmacy student, explained.
Famelab heats are facilitated by Jive Media Africa who are also the media partners of the competition. Shabnaaz Gina, Jive Media Africa projects manager, told Wits Vuvuzela that over nine higher education institutions have their students in the national semi–finals. “The national winner gets to represent South Africa in the international final, as well as receive masterclass training to further strengthen their science communication skills.” Gina explained. Tshiamo Legoale, is the only South African that has won the international competition in 2017.
Wits hosted its first Famelab competition in 2017. “Some of the previous Wits FameLab finalists have advanced and developed their interest in science communication,” says Wits communications officer, Refilwe Mabula. “Wits had an overwhelming response from students eager to participate in this year’s competition.” said Mabula. Mabula told Wits Vuvuzela that a second leg of the competition is expected to take place in May due to the high demand.
The national semi–finals and finals of the FameLab competition will be held virtually this year due to the pandemic.
FEATURED IMAGE: Brian Kariithi advances to the semi-finals of the Famelab competition. Photo: Provided.
- Wits Vuvuzela, Witsies shine in science competition, March 2017
- Wits Vuvuzela, Science students seeks fame in communication competition, March 2018.