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Prestigious award recognises PhD researcher's work in Ghanaian schools

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PhD student in the School of Engineering and Innovation at The Open University (OU), Lois Damptey, has won a 'Youth Excellence award in Science and Engineering' in Ghana.

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) funds Lois's PhD. Under the supervision of Professor Satheesh Krishnamurthy, Prof N.S. Braithwaite and Prof Vasant Kumar (from the University of Cambridge), her PhD work focused on providing low-cost technological solutions to treat wastewater streams.

Each year, millions of children under five die due to waterborne diseases and a lack of accessibility to clean drinking water. Lois's research focuses on surface modification of low-cost and environmentally friendly materials to degrade chemical organic compounds in wastewater using sunlight. The project's motivation is to create a solar-powered water filtration system for all, mainly looking at developing countries like Ghana as a case study.

Through her two non-profit, governmental organisations, Sankofa Mentorship Hub and Dear Young Graduate, Lois helps empower rural schools in Ghana with practical STEM education in experiential engineering education and provides access to further education to more than 50,000 international students. The projects aim to address United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal four - Ensure to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

The award judges selected Lois from a competitive pool of amazing scientists and engineers who have helped in the development of Ghana and internationally at the 2022 edition of the GhanaWeb Excellence Awards.

Lois said:

"I'm delighted to have been awarded as Ghana's best youth excellence in Science and Engineering for my work in empowering rural schools with practical STEM education in experiential engineering education.

"As a PhD student in STEM school of the OU, it was a fantastic opportunity and a heart-warming feeling to work for the betterment of my local community and to be recognised for my developmental contribution in providing accessibility of education through engineering/STEM to children of Ghana."

Through various developmental projects, Lois has served as a beacon to young scientists and engineers, especially females. She also lent her voice and feedback to the OU's OpenSTEM Africa project.

A version of this story by Laura Bandell, originally appeared on OU news.

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