SMIN Power Group Promotes STEM Education for Girls in Africa

In an interview published by Actualite.CD on Monday, March 11, 2019 Dr Sandrine Mubenga, CEO of SMIN Power Group LLC Discusses her role in helping to promote STEM education for Congolese students.  The article is reproduced below:

Sandrine Mubenga. Engineer and university professor in Toledo, USA.

Sandrine Mubenga. Engineer and university professor in Toledo, USA.

Engineer and professor at the University of Toledo, Ohio (USA), Sandrine Mubenga is one of the few Congolese women to excel in science. After having invented a hydrogen engine system for cars, today it is launching in renewable energies with a discovery that will certainly revolutionize the world. Interview.

Sandrine Mubenga, hello and especially thank you for granting us this interview. For those who do not know you, how would you introduce yourself?

My name is Ngalula Sandrine Mubenga. In 2018, I was elected Engineer of the Year by the Institute of Electronics and Electricity Engineers (IEEE) -Toledo, Ohio, USA. I am founder and CEO of SMIN Power Group, ( www.sminpowergroup.com ), a company that designs and installs photovoltaic systems in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I am also a University Professor in the USA, specifically at the University of Toledo, in the Department of Electrical Engineering Technology. I teach Network Analysis, Digital Logic Fundamentals and Digital Logic Design.

You are not unaware that the field of science is not always the prerogative of young girls in our countries. How do you explain that ?

 I am one of the few Congolese women – if not the only one – professor, professional engineer and doctor of electrical engineering at a university in the USA. The fact that there are few women in this field of science led me to create the STEM DRC Initiative ( www.stemdrc.com ) to promote Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) in the DRC and around the world. I invite young girls to pursue a career in STEM, and this is already being done in primary school. Recently I launched a scholarship to encourage Congolese youth to pursue university studies in STEM. All information on STEM grants can be found on our website www.sminpowergroup.com. In the United States, I volunteer workshops where I teach girls aged 12 to 14 to build and program robots to familiarize them with STEM in a fun way. This kind of hands-on activities interests them greatly. These are the kinds of things we can do in the DRC for girls to stimulate their taste for science.

Tell us about your university course

My accomplishments can be summed up as follows: First, when I was doing my Bachelor, I developed a portable system based on flexible solar panels to power electronic devices. This creation had a very special mention when I finished my bachelor degree in electrical engineering. It was from there that I began to deepen my research in renewable energies. Then, during my master’s degree, I developed a hybrid electric car running on hydrogen, as well as a solar station generating hydrogen. This innovation has earned me several awards, including the Most Outstanding Thesis for the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Toledo, USA. This innovation which is an electric car with hydrogen was recovered by the sponsor of our research for the study as well as the marketing. Finally, my taste and my passion in renewable energies, exploded during my 3rdcycle (doctorate) in electrical engineering with this discovery that we had developed “the Bilevel equalizer”. A discovery that has a patent (Patent, in English). It is an innovation that increases the capacity and longevity of lithium ion batteries by more than 30%. Today, this technology is unique. Thanks to this technology, I won the “Best Paper Awards” of the National Aerospace and Electronics Conference, organized in 2018 by IEEE. Cobalt is used in the manufacture of lithium ion batteries. As you know, a technology like this with the rise of the price of cobalt on the world market, our Bilevel equalizer is of interest to the electric car manufacturers, the aerospace applications and the storage system for renewable energies as well as to the gird.

Tell us about this invention, how can it benefit the DRC?

As an originator of the DRC, the largest producer of cobalt, I am proud to be part of this innovation which, to my great joy, is of interest not only to the international world, but also to my country of origin. This innovation is also an opportunity for the Lumumba country. To miss such an opportunity is to refuse to mark history and to give other nations the opportunity to continue to enslave us. Imagine the DRC producing batteries and electric vehicles! It is possible because there is nothing we miss. I therefore continue to deepen my research to improve this technology because I am convinced, with the project of mineral processing in the DRC, cobalt for example, that our solution “Bilevel equalizer” will be unavoidable, even in my country.

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Quoted with attribution https://actualite.cd/2019/03/11/jai-mis-en-place-une-bourse-pour-inciter-les-jeunes-congolaises-sinteresser-aux-metiers

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