Hello. Who are you and what have you achieved?
My name is Ruvarashe Moyo, the CEO of Junior Space Explorers. I am a young scientist passionate about bringing sustainable development in my community.
I was a 2022 Regeneron ISEF Finalist. ISEF is the worlds' largest science competition for high school students.
I represented Zimbabwe in the Genius Olympiad, where l scooped bronze medal and scholarship to RIT university.
I co-founded Junior Space Explorers, in the abide to expose more children in Africa to space exploration and science.
I have been a 2 times Zimbabwe Science Fair gold medalist.
I have been a 3 times Africa Science Buskers Festival gold medalist.
I was a 2020 Broadcom Masters International Delegate.
I am the first African to intern at the University of California Santa Cruz in the Science InternshipProgram.
What's your backstory and how did you get started?
I grew up as a curious young person who always questioned why and how things around were happening. I didn't know what l actually wanted out of life, l only knew that l needed to pass my final exams and continue to college then start working and earn a good living waiting to die. This actually changed when l went for my high school at Queen Elizabeth High School. l had a science teacher, Mr Chikundi, who showed me the life of purpose. He introduced me to the word science, not science as a subject we learnt in class but science as a weapon to make an impact in my community. I took the word science to define me and help me navigate my purpose in life. My life changed from just being curious to being curious with a purpose and passion to bring solutions to problems facing people in my community. Through science, l have found my joy and family and fulfilment as it has helped me live a life of impact.
Take us through the process or steps you took to be where you are.
From the moment I discovered that l could bring the change l wanted to see in world with science, I began working on research projects and ideas that solved problems in my community. My first project was of generating electricity from bacteria in mud. I did the project because l wanted to solve electricity challenges in my community. I then did another project of turning bricks into super-capacitors also to solve electricity challenges.
My other project was to investigate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in sewage and in water supply. l later developed a novel water purification device that degrades biological contaminates using clay bricks as a photocatalyst.
I realised that research and other fields of science like space exploration were not highly promoted in Zimbabwe. For me to engage in science someone had to come and spark the curiosity in me. I therefore thought of starting an organisation that seeks to improve lives, inspire and fulfil curiosity in children of all ages through Space Exploration and Astronomy.
Along the way, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
My life has been an interesting one and full of learning, disappointments and most importantly failure. I have learnt to follow my heart and silence others people's views on dreams. I was the first person in my family and in class to do science research. People would tell me that l was just wasting my time and energy, but l knew l really loved research so l continued. l wanted to make an impact. I have also learnt to step out of my comfort zone to continue learning and growing. There are things that l said would never do, imagine working with sewage. Surprisingly l did the research and it came out very well because l loved what I was doing. The most important thing is find what you love to do. I have also learnt no man is an island, you always need people as mentors to help you.
Take failure positively. I used to run away from failure and ended up not exploring other things. The moment I started to take failure as a learning chance, l have become unstoppable. I have been able to achieve things l never dreamt of because l am always trying and waiting to fail so that l can learn and grow as a person.
What are you working on today and what does the future look like?
Currently, l am advancing my research project of turning bricks into super-capacitors so as to use chemicals that are locally available making renewable energy accessible to all. I am also working to grow Junior Space Explorers so that it impacts more young people in Zimbabwe and Africa at large.
We are planning on doing the first ever massive outreach campaign in Africa that will bring professional astronomers and wider public together. In the future l plan to expand Junior Space Explorers so that it can train a new generation of young researchers. We need more people who can solve humanity's grand challenges.
What have been the most influential books, people, or other resources?
The most influential books are:
1. The Almanack of Naval: The Guide to Wealth and Happiness. The book has helped me always stay happy and live in the present and not focus on external things. Also to get wealthy you don't need luck to be wealthy but it is a skill. Escape competition through authenticity. l have learnt to be authentic and do things I am uniquely good at.
2. Atomic Habits - the importance of small habits that impact the overall big habits.Changing small habits can lead to overall success.
1. Pelagia Majoni - has inspired me that science doesn't care about your background, it just needs your curiosity to explore and zeal to change the world.
2. Knowledge Chikundi - helped me to see the bigger picture and to move out of my comfort zone.He also showed me another side of the world and he is continuing to impact thousands of lives in Africa and beyond.
I consider my own people as my heroes because if they could make an impact then l too can make a great impact and change the world.
Advice for other young people who want to get started or are just starting out?
Always follow your heart and do things that you really love and care about. Do not do things that other people are doing. I believe if you are passionate about what you are doing nothing will stop you from succeeding. Passion is the fuel to success. To achieve your dreams be willing to step out of your comfort zone to continue learning and growing. Go out there look for mentors and resources that will help achieve your dreams.
Never be afraid to fail, failure is the process of learning.
In research things get very hard at times. Cry if you thinK it might help but do not ever quit. Imagine if all those inventors like Henry Ford and the Wright Brothers had quit, what would the world be like today.
If the plan doesn't work, change the plan not the goal.