“I am overjoyed to have been selected as the SANBio Student Ambassador for Zimbabwe. The team that will work with me during my tenure as the Ambassador comprises institution-level student ambassadors that include Ms Melissa Chimuchembere from the University of Zimbabwe, Ms Nomsa Kitikiti, Mr Kumbirai Luka and Mr Bongani Ndlovu, the latter four being from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST),” Ms. Joyce Masvaya proclaims.
Joyce, a young lady aged twenty one, is currently in her third year of studying towards a Bachelor of Technology (Hons) degree in Biotechnology at the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) in Zimbabwe. She is currently undertaking an internship at the National Biotechnology Authority of Zimbabwe which has the mandate to protect the public from potentially harmful technologies and undertakings related to biotechnology, nanotechnology, nanobiotechnology and synthetic biotechnology products.
“Being the first born of two girls in a Christian family, I am an enthusiastic, persistent team player and a goal-oriented individual energized by challenges I encounter on a daily basis. Since childhood, I’ve been inquisitive and eager to learn more about the fascinating dynamics of natural systems. This compelled me to study science related subjects at school. Biology was my favourite subject at secondary school as I dreamt of becoming a medical doctor with the aim of joining the fight against various pandemics plaguing the continent. Unfortunately this teen dream did not come true because I did not quite meet the entry requirements to be enrolled. I was devastated and thought I could never be part of the biological community before I discovered there was much more to biosciences than just medical science. It dawned on me that scientific fields like biotechnology, biochemistry, food science and applied biological sciences are alternative routes to becoming a bioscientist,” she elaborates on her background.
She enrolled into the biotechnology field of study at HIT, and her passion to make a change was rekindled through the vast amount of potential she saw in the field: “Biotechnology, as a critical and life changing field, is not just about being in the laboratory and theorising. It is a solution-seeking field related to real challenges in all spheres of life such as health, hunger, food security, energy crises, and environmental issues to name just a few.”
Joyce dreams of a career as a scientist working towards improving livelihoods for the communities in Africa, facilitating economic growth through biosciences: “I hope to become an influential bioscientist, able to facilitate change in my country and in the region at large. Being a young woman, I would also like to use my position as a student ambassador to motivate girls and women aspiring to be scientists.”
Joyce also loves a hands-on approach to things and is not afraid of getting her hands dirty: “In my spare time I am an avid farmer, probably taking after my father. Last year I made a nice profit from the onions and potatoes I planted at our plot in Harare.”
She is also far from being finished with her studying: “After I graduate with a Bachelor of Technology Honors degree in Biotechnology, I intend to further my studies through a Master’s in Bioscience Enterprise (MBE) programme which is a multidisciplinary biotechnology and business degree course, designed for high-achieving individuals with an enthusiasm for enterprise. This Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) degree will equip me with the requisite skills in enterprise, management and entrepreneurship I will need – I dream of taking up executive roles, establishing and building biotechnology companies and doing groundbreaking work in the life sciences consultancy sector. I would like to extend my knowledge of the latest advances in exploitable biotechnology and medical science, and gain an understanding of the ethical, legal and regulatory issues associated with bringing scientific advances to market to make those dreams come true.”
“I believe biosciences will have a huge influence on efforts to find solutions to challenges faced by most African countries, if we include it as a part of a larger system of tools we have at hand, assisting us in conquering many of our most nagging and pestilent problems,” she concludes.
We look forward to seeing Joyce’s enthusiasm put to action as the SANBio Student Ambassador for Zimbabwe. Welcome to the team!