It began with an email from UCT's Postgraduate Health Sciences Students' Council and ended with a trip to the United Kingdom to compete in the FameLab international competition at the Cheltenham Science Festival.
For Stevie Biffen, a UCT master's student in neuroscience, the cost of this opportunity was no more than a three-minute speech on anything to do with science, and the courage to believe in herself.
The FameLab competition, known as "pop idols for science", is an international competition to promote science and technology. Biffen competed in the first Cape Town 'heat' where she spoke about the neuroscience of play and creativity.
Successful in the regional heats, Biffen spent a week at the National Science Festival in Grahamstown where she joined 16 young scientists for a masterclass with Dr Emily Grossman, professional science communicator and broadcaster.
With the masterclass behind them, the group competed for the honour of representing South Africa at the Cheltenham Science festival.
Biffen took the prize with her talk, "The Science of Happiness", and a few months later was on a plane to the UK.
"The excitement of winning and attending the Cheltenham Science Festival was both overwhelming and magical," said Biffen. "The feeling of leaving South African soil to represent your country was pretty amazing and utterly humbling."
Though Biffen did not make it to the final round of FameLab International 2015, she says the opportunity was a prize in itself.
"FameLab gave me the opportunity to inspire and be inspired, the courage to communicate with the public and the bravery to share my passion for science."
Story by Natalie Simon. Photo courtesy of Stevie Biffen.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Please view the republishing articles page for more information.