Emmanuel Mulengwa won Outstanding Mentor Award at the First Global Challenge 2019, in Dubai. Participants in the 2019 cycle of this high profiled robotics challenge for teenagers were drawn from 191 countries. Emmanuel is passionate about technology and inventions. He shares his story and what drives him to spark curiosity and exploration among other youth.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Emmanuel Mulengwa. I’m 20 years old and a second-year undergraduate student at The Technical University of Kenya, pursuing Geospatial Engineering.
Why are you interested in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics(STEM)
Honestly, I was passionate about STEM before I even knew what STEM was, but my journey in tech picked up after high school in 2018 when I was 18. My project was chosen among the finalist teams for GMin’s Innovate Kenya program. My teammate and I worked on a project called “the HyHy Pump”, which is a solar-powered Hydraulic Hydroelectric Pump that can be used to provide energy to communities that are off-grid.
I later applied for the 2018 FIRST global Challenge robotics opportunity that same year, and qualified to be part of Team Kenya as one of the four teens representing Kenya. The theme was “energy impact. Using robotics, we were tasked with demonstrating various forms of energy that can be harnessed by communities around the globe including solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy.
It was an awesome learning experience building the robot. I got to acquire the skills of teamwork, problem-solving and the art of communication within the team. After the competition, I got a practical understanding of STEM.
As a champion for STEM, what activities have you been involved in to encourage more youth to pursue STEM?
In 2019, under Young Scientist Kenya (YSK) program, I travelled with GMin to over 20 counties in Kenya reaching out to over 40,000 students encouraging them to be young innovators and change-makers in their community. This involved sharing my experience in STEM and how other students can utilise available opportunities to grow their careers in STEM.
In mid-2019, I was privileged to be the team mentor for Kenya’s 2019 FIRST Global Challenge team. As a technical mentor, I provided technical support for the team and helped them answer the tough engineering questions through the robot build process. The chance to mentor younger innovators was the most amazing moment of my Tech journey. I was then nominated as the Global Outstanding Mentor in the FGC 2019 and won the award.
During the 2019 FGC competition, I realized that it is possible for an East African team to win the FGC competition if we expose our youth to technology more.
Any last word?
I would strongly urge every young mind across Africa to identify problems around them and innovate solutions that will change the world.
Technology is an inevitable force that’s here with us and will affect all aspects of our life; social, political, economic and even our basic daily activities. Let’s use this force to design our future.
Don’t stop dreaming, your imagination is your limit!