The STEMi Makers Africa hosted the world’s largest celebration of Astronomy through a series of online webcast events from the 23rd of April to the 25th of April 2020. The event series had four (4) global Scientists engaging young people in Science, STEM, Astronomy and offering an array of opportunities to key into. The event was also marked to build hope in young people amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic where they can be free to explore and utilize lucrative opportunities in Science.
The Global Astronomy Month series kickstarted with Dr. Brenda Namumba, the first Zambian to hold a PhD in Astrophysics and a postdoctoral fellow under the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO). She talked about Integrating science, Bridging Africa to Inspire the future. In her presentation, she shared that the economic growth of Astronomy in Africa will foster Infrastructure development in rural areas, Employment opportunities for locals, Internet connectivity in rural areas and how it will allow Africa (for the first time) to be a significant contributor to the Global knowledge economy. She encouraged young people to Know themselves, Set goals in life, Dare to dream, Never give up and Be thankful.
The Second Series was by Damilola Oladeji, the National Point of Contact of the Space Generation Advisory Council. He discussed how the Future looks with Space Science. In his words, “Technology from space supports sustainable development on Earth and the role Space Science & Technology has to play in achieving the SDGs cannot be overemphasized.”
The last day of the webcast series featured Dr. Tana Joseph, a South African Astronomer who studies binary star systems containing black holes and neutron stars in galaxies outside the Milky Way using telescopes in space and on the ground. Dr. Tana shared how young Africans can get involved in Astronomy, such as attending webinars and public events, helping astronomers and researchers in analyzing their data, etc. She also addressed funding opportunities, and how to seek support from colleagues and mentors.
The Webcast series rounded off with Tweet chat by Ashley Walker, an Astrohemist and Planetary Scientist who began her research experience in Astronomy immediately after her arrival at Chicago State University with formal training as a scientist. Ashley offered extensive knowledge and experience that shaped her career in Astronomy till this day.
The GAM2020 event had affiliate and partner organizations like Astrocomms, NASA USA, South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), Rhodes University, RARG, South Africa, Space Generation Advisory Council, and Roots of the Science Africa, a podcast that highlights people who are in the STEM field and give them the opportunity to tell their stories about their research or projects.