The 8-year-old neuroscientist who teaches online from a lab in her bedroom

Amoy Antunet got hooked on science at the age of three after coming across a microscope owned by her father, who was a college student.

The young whiz kid from Atlanta, Georgia, soon became her father’s “study buddy.” Davin Shepherd, who was then 43, began explaining everything he was learning during his biology classes to his daughter.

Subsequently, the second-grader began experiments from a lab in her bedroom with a collection of test tubes, replica organs, microscopes, and chemicals she built for herself.

By the age of five, she had started appearing on the internet with her dad, conducting experiments and giving lessons from the lab.

“Donning a white lab coat, Amoy dissects mind-boggling topics including cell division, the heart, pH testing and her favorite – the brain,” the Daily Mail wrote recently.

At the moment, her explainer videos on her Facebook page, Science For Children with Amoy Antunet, have over a million views.

Antunet, who also loves math and gymnastics, said she makes her videos because she wants to “help people understand different types of science.”

“When I was a little girl I said I wanted to be a pharmacist but now I want to be a neurosurgeon who helps people with neurological disorders.

“So far I’ve mostly learnt about the heart and the brain and I want to learn about Multiple Sclerosis in the future so I can help sick people like my aunt, who has it.

“My daddy will teach me.”

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Antunet with her dad. Photo: Daily Mail

Shepherd, who is proud of her daughter, said he will continue to help his talented daughter to achieve her goals.

“At first I thought it was cute but then I started seeing how she really grasped some of it,’ he said.

“After a while it became something we did together. We would go through lessons and she would pretend to teach me, and that’s how we learned.

“It’s one of the things she does for playtime now. She will put on a lab coat and run to the lab and do all the stuff she wants.”

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Amoy Antunet

Antunet, who was invited to the University of Alabama’s Neuroscience Lab, has also appeared on CNN, the BBC and other major media outlets as well as conferences where she has spoken on Alzheimer’s.

She was recently a keynote speaker at a Youth Innovation Summit that helps students get more interested in the STEAM and the STEM programs.

“If you scratch out the science stuff, I’m actually pretty normal,” the 8-year-old genius said while advising students at the summit this January: “They should act on their potential, and if there’s something that you really like you should act on it.”

Post Source: Face2FaceAfrica.com

Kiko Davis is the only Black woman in the U.S. who owns a bank

Kiko Davis has always known she would be working multiple capacities because she held many interests while growing up.The founder and President of Don Davis Legacy Foundation established in 2016 to continue the legacy and the initiatives of her late husband, Davis, 49, is the majority shareholder of Detroit-based First Independence Bank – one of the top 10 largest Black-owned banks in the United States.

This makes her the only Black woman in the United States who owns a bank, according to Black Business.

True to the opening paragraph of this article apropos – working multiple capacities – Davis is also the managing director of Groonvesville Production and Publishing LLC which controls the Grammy Award-winning music catalog of her late husband – Don Davis. He was an American record producer, songwriter, and guitarist who combined a career in music and one in banking.

Speaking to Rolling Out, on her feat, Davis said women of color have an innate warrior spirit that “makes us inherently effective at leading and at winning.”

According to her, strength, courage, intelligence and analytical ability are hallmarks of any great leader; however, a warrior spirit goes beyond just that. 

“We possess a level of empathy for people in general with a higher level of sensitivity towards women and minorities. Often times, it’s a skill set that unfortunately some men and non-minorities do not possess. They simply are socialized differently. I believe in order to lead people effectively you must be able to understand them, or at least want to,” she told Rolling Out.

Davis has three success habits she goes by daily – pray, eat healthily and exercise in the morning.

Going through those give her the energy to face the day and any challenges that may present itself along the way.

“I also make sure I surround myself with positive like-minded people every day. Even Wonder Woman has moments of weakness, that’s when she calls for back up from her Super Friends! Always make sure your circle is energized and prepared to battle evil!” she stated.

According to her, what makes her unique as an African American female leader, is her ability to genuinely connect with people and inspire a culture of synergy.“It’s a God-given talent that comes naturally,” Davis mentioned. “People tend to lend the very best of themselves when they feel leaders are passionate about them and their environment.”

Asked why it is important for seasoned and experienced Black women to reach back and help younger women of color, Davis replied:I believe in the adage: ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ I believe giving back is the rent you pay for occupying a seat at the table of success.

“Just like an apartment, if you don’t pay your rent, you can be evicted. More than being the right thing to do, it empowers you.”

“Helping others reach their full potential adds more to your life than anyone could ever take away. Everyone needs a good mentor or teacher to guide them on their journey to greatness. Plus, it just down-right feels good,” she added.

Davis opined she is greatly inspired by Shirley Chisolm, the first Black congresswoman and the first major-party Black candidate to run for president in 1972.“I want to thank her for being fearless. She faced intense racism, bigotry, misogyny, and even several assassination attempts, all for the platform of equality, education, and justice. One of my favorite quotes by Chisolm is, “In the end, anti-Black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing: anti-humanism,” she said.

Remembering Komla Dumor, an African broadcaster of exceptional quality

Komla Dumor 

When Ghanaian broadcaster Komla Afeke Dumor began his broadcasting career with Ghanaian-based radio station Joy FM, his quality shone so bright that he was entrusted with hosting the morning show. Under his captainship, he earned numerous awards including the converted Journalist of the Year prize. Soon enough, global broadcaster BBC came calling so “in 2006 Dumor joined the BBC African Service in London as host of the radio programme Network Africa. From 2008 to 2012 he presented The World Today on the BBC World Service. In 2011 Dumor began presenting the World News and Africa Business Report on BBC World News and early mornings on BBC One and the BBC News Channel. When the latter was relaunched in 2013, fellow BBC correspondent Lerato Mbele was chosen as host.

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“In December 2013, he was named as one of the 100 most influential Africans of 2013 by New African magazine, with the citation: “It has been a coming of age for Kumla Dumor this year. The presenter of Focus on Africa, the BBC’s flagship and first-ever dedicated daily TV news programme in English for African audiences, broadcast on BBC World News, has established himself as one of the emerging African faces of global broadcasting. As a lead presenter for BBC World, Dumor has considerable influence on how the continent is covered.”

In Komla Dumor, Ghana had a powerful voice at the highest level. His professionalism, poise, intelligence and skill coupled with his ever ready smile meant he was a thoroughbred yet affable. Little wonder then that at the time of his death at 41, Dumor was the only West African newsreader on BBC World News.

Requiem mass at the Roman Catholic cathedral in Accra for BBC presenter Komla Dumor on February 21, 2014
Requiem mass at the Roman Catholic cathedral in Accra for BBC presenter Komla Dumor on February 21, 2014

But we all go the way of mortals so on January 18, 2014 in his London home, Dumor died after a cardiac arrest, having been on air the day before. His death stunned the news world as well as his fellow country men and women who couldn’t come to terms that a seemingly healthy Dumor was indeed gone.

The tributes came in thick and fast. Ghanaian president at the time John Mahama stated via Twitter that Dumor was one of Ghana’s “finest ambassadors” and “was a broadcaster of exceptional quality and Ghana’s gift to the World.”

“Komla developed his own unique on air style, seamlessly moved between TV and radio and influenced Africa coverage across the BBC,” BBC News presenter Mishal Husain submitted.

“A leading light of African journalism – committed to telling the story of Africa as it really is,” is how BBC’s global news director Peter Horrocks remembered him.

Komla Dumor launched Africa Business Report on the BBC World News Channel in 2009
Komla Dumor launched Africa Business Report on the BBC World News Channel in 2009

Dumor’s sure hands and voice assuaged any fears his editors may have had. He interviewed notables including deceased UN captain Kofi Annan, billionaire Bill Gates and great writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Mega events he covered include Barack Obama’s trip to Africa, funeral of Nelson Mandela and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

For one who started out studying pre-clinical medicine at the University of Jos in Nigeria before  graduating with a BSc. in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Ghana and earning a Master’s of Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, his ascent to the pinnacle of journalism and broadcasting was unconventionally swift. Dumor left behind wife, Kwansema Quansah with whom he had three children.

His body was returned to Ghana on February 3, 2014. His remains were interred close to his mother at their family house.

Dumor, left, with Mo Ibrahim, the chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, in Ethiopia last November [AP]
Dumor, left, with Mo Ibrahim, the chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, in Ethiopia last November [AP]

Months after his death in 2015, the BBC launched the BBC World News Komla Dumor Award, presented each year “to an outstanding individual living and working in Africa, who combines strong journalism skills, on air flair, and an exceptional talent in telling African stories with the ambition and potential to become a star of the future.”

The award was presented to Ugandan journalist Nancy Kacungira in 2015, Nigerian journalist Didi Akinyelure in 2016, Nigerian journalist Amina Yuguda in 2017, Kenyan journalist Wahiga Mwaura in 2018 and Ugandan journalist Solomon Serwanjja in 2019. The winner is given a three-month training and development contract in BBC News.

Meet 31-year-old Mareena Snowden, first black woman to earn Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from MIT

Meet 31-year-old Mareena Snowden, first black woman to earn Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from MIT

Mareena Robinson Snowden made history as the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).Snowden never dreamed of a career in STEM as a child.

“Engineering definitely was not something I had a passion for at a young age,” she said in an interview with CNBC Make It. Snowden was quite the opposite. “I think my earliest memories of math and science were definitely one of like nervousness and anxiety and just kind of an overall fear of the subject.”

Snowden would eventually shake off the fear thanks to her high school math and physics teachers who took interest in her and helped widen her scope and interest beyond English and history – subjects she loves.

“I had this idea that I wasn’t good at math and they kind of helped to peel away that mindset,” she stated, adding: “They showed me that it’s more of a growth situation, that you can develop an aptitude for this and you can develop a skill. It’s just like a muscle, and you have to work for it.”

In 2015, just over 2% of bachelor degrees in physics were earned by African-Americans, according to the American Physical Society. African Americans make up almost 15% of the United States’ population. Despite this, in 2013, around 5% of Ph.D. recipients in the US were African Americans, and fewer than 1% of PhDs were awarded to African American women. 

When Snowden, who grew up in Miami, was in the 12th grade and studying physics, she and her dad were introduced to someone who worked in the physics department at Florida A&M University, CNBC reported. At the time, she said, she was considering colleges and decided to visit the campus.

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Credit: Mareena Robinson Snowden

“We drove up there and it was amazing,” stated Snowden. “They treated me like a football player who was getting recruited. They took me to the scholarship office, and they didn’t know anything about me at the time. All they knew was that I was a student who was open to the possibility of majoring in physics.”

Snowden’s journey to becoming the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. at MIT was the culmination of 11 years of post-secondary study.

Snowden was reportedly introduced to nuclear engineering during her undergraduate years when she participated in MIT’s summer research program. After her undergraduate years, she applied to pursue graduate study in eight schools and was accepted by MIT’s nuclear engineering program.

Snowden on June 8, 2018, became the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the decorated university.

“Grateful for every part of this experience — highs, and lows,” she wrote on Instagram. “Every person who supported me and those who didn’t. Grateful for a praying family, a husband who took on this challenge as his own, sisters who reminded me at every stage how powerful I am, friends who inspired me to fight harder. Grateful for the professors who fought for and against me. Every experience on this journey was necessary, and I’m better for it.”

Also speaking to Blavity about her achievement, Snowden said she “only figured it out because I was looking for a mentor to connect with, somebody to figure out what my next steps would look like.”

She added: “Speaking to the administration in my department, they let me know, ‘our records don’t show anybody, so it looks like you’re going to be the first.’”

After finishing her program at M.I.T., Snowden completed a fellowship with the National Nuclear Security Administration. And she’s at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she focuses on nuclear security, including policy research and writing about nuclear weapons.

“It’s exciting as a researcher to work on something that people are thinking about now, something with real-world implications,” stated Snowden. “I try to understand how policymakers and negotiators think, explore current nuclear challenges, and then try to evolve technical frameworks to meet the world as it is.”

Samson Haileyesus is changing the face of Youth advocacy and Championing climate change in Ethiopia

Samson Haileyesus is a youth policy advisor and climate change activist.

Born in the Ethiopian touristic city of Hawassa, which is located 273 km south of the capital Addis Ababa, 26 year old Samson is passionate about advocacy for youth leadership, development and empowerment with experience in developing and managing various youth programs.

He holds a bachelors in Construction Technology & Management in the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC), Addis Ababa University.

Having graduated in 2018 with an accredited certificate of Leadership from the Project Management Institute (PMI), Samson is preparing for a Master’s class in International Relations & Diplomacy to be started in fall 2020.

Volunteer work

Samson started his volunteer and professional work with youth organizations in 2011 and served in many national and international youth organizations from membership to senior leadership representing Ethiopian youth.

These include; AIESEC, World Youth Alliance (WYA), Ethiopian Youth Federation (EYF), Youth Ambassadors Program (YAP), Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA-AAU), Pan-African Youth Association for the Promotion of Peace and Unity in Africa (AJEPAX), Team 54 Project, A Common Word Among the Youth (ACWAY), and  O-YES Global Foundation.

Currently, he serves in 2 professional positions (Executive Director of O-YES Global Foundation & Youth Policy Advisor in Youth Steering Committee) and volunteered as Deputy Country Director of International Youth Society in Ethiopia.

Awards

In 2019, Samson was recognized as a Global Goodwill Ambassador (GGA) for Ethiopia and winner of the Special Award of Books for Peace 2019, and recently I won the Policy advocate of the year Award on the Young African Leaders Summit (YALS2019). I am an AIESEC & YALI alumni & ACWAY Fellow.

 

Youth Challenges

Samson identifies unemployment and lack of entrepreneurial skills as the major issues facing the youth in today’s world. He said For African countries, youth represent a challenge as well as an enormous opportunity, particularly now, when populations in other parts of the world are aging. Young people, while needing jobs, are also critical in creating them.

He said the growing youth population has placed immense pressure on African countries to address youth unemployment, but their ability to generate employment among sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing is limited by infrastructure constraints. “The youth’s lack of entrepreneurial skills limit their ability to develop businesses that can generate employment and growth, and their lack of capital to exploit business opportunities limits their chances of starting and sustaining a business.”

He identifies Gender inequality, Political Instability & Conflict, Poverty and Illegal Migration as other issues facing the youth in recent times.

 

Past Projects

Samson says he is passionate about making a difference and therefore engages in various community and personal development programs to make this impact happen. He has therefore  managed and implemented a number of projects & initiatives in the past 8 years, some of which include;

Sira-Tukole Project – In late 2014 he spearheaded the “Sira-Tukole” project, a regional youth exchange project between three East African Countries of Ethiopia, Kenya & Uganda entailed on training youth on leadership, entrepreneurship, and business development. The project which was funded by FK Norway (Fredskoprset) impacted more than 2000 young people in the universities of the 3 countries. Through the exchange, Samson and his team from AISEC managed to give opportunities for 8 Ethiopians, 8 Ugandans, and 5 Kenyans, in total 21 young Africans on a fully-funded exchange program for 9 months.

Youth 4 Peace – The Programprimarily seeks to promote the meaningful participation of youth in all spectrums of peace and security by engaging them as leaders, partners, and implementers of peace initiatives but also working to dissuade them from all acts of violence. The initiative was first launched by the African Union which was later managed by O-YES Global Foundation to restore the program which included 107 university students in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Youth Entrepreneurs Fair – The Ethiopia Youth Entrepreneurs Fair (YEF) is a platform that will see Government bodies, Investors, NGOs, Universities, experienced entrepreneurs, new entrepreneurs, and over 300 youths to discuss issues and share their experiences on Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Ethiopia. The event is meant to promote an entrepreneurial culture among the youth by exposing them to the vast network of opportunities in Ethiopia. The event will have different Speakers share their experiences on Entrepreneurship and also talk about some of the challenges and how the youth can overcome them. The event will also have an exhibition for Startups and SMEs to showcase their products.

The Manifesto – Samson worked with more than 5000 youths across the world to prepare a manifesto of youth on climate change in which the document compiled & adopted at the 11th Conference of Youth (COY11) in Paris was handed to the COP President in COP21 conference on December 2015. This information was used as a manifesto and input of the youth to the COP21 Int. Climate Conference.

Green Environment Initiative – The initiatives main goal is to create awareness, share knowledge and build the capacity of youth on environmental protection. The initiative planted many trees in several schools by coordinating 82 high school students.     

In his message to the youth across the globe, Samson says;

“I believe there is nothing we can’t do if we really want to do. if we came together to achieve a common goal like the SDGs.

Too often, many of us live with more awareness of our limitations than our potential. As a young person lets go out and try new things, it doesn’t matter if we fail or succeed. “We are not defined by our failures; instead we have to be empowered by them”. 

We have to realize every day is a new day and ask what we can do with it?

The trails of yesterday are behind us. A new day dawns, and with it comes possibilities, chances for success, innovation and discoveries are abundant. The opportunity to be better than we were yesterday is right here, right now. The chance to change our community, our country, our continent and the world is right in our hands.

We don’t have another world in some other place, we need to take care of it, for this let’s work together to make sure the SDGs are achieved fully across the globe. By all legal means, let’s hold responsible those governments who are not working towards achieving the SDGs.

We are the world and the world is nothing without us.”