Like her twin and research partner, Jacqui van Zyl, age 16, is passionate about science. Jacqui’s favorite project was “Honey Lift the Bucket, We Need More Light,” which developed devices to produce renewable light for hundreds of millions of poor students in Sub-Saharan Africa, powered only by lifting a weight every 10 to 15 minutes, and costing less than $30 per device. This project won the twins first place and the best in category award. Jacqui is also especially fond of the project in which she and Caitlin (read Caitlin’s story here) developed an enhanced brain-computer interface using state-of-the-art machine learning, gamification, and neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) to restore motion in stroke victims.
Jacqui says it’s important to face challenges head-on with perseverance and your own perspective, and while she values academic success, she believes that helping others around her is even more important. She plans to study engineering in college and specialize in either nanotechnology or design.
“ I challenge every woman to tenaciously search for success through their own path and passions (that are uniquely theirs) despite rejection, fear, or others’ expectations.”
Before starting a family of her own, she wants to travel the world to “capture the diversity and beauty through photography.” She hopes to spend some time in her home country, South Africa, to “explore the culture and magnificence of my home country, while helping to create stability and hope for family and children in poverty.”