Biotechnology is, as the name implies, the combination of biology and technology in which living things are used to make products. For example, an ancient form of biotechnology is the use of yeast to make bread, cheese and beer.
Today, technology has advanced so much that biotechnology has become relevant for various fields including medicine and health, agriculture, and other industries. In the future biotechnology will become increasingly important and provide many potential career paths for aspiring scientists. However, public awareness of this field remains limited, which is where people like Masego Mokgoro come in. Masego is a Public Understanding of Biotechnology (PUB) Project Officer, and it’s her job to educate the public about biotechnology.
Many of us might think of scientists as people who spend many solitary hours in a laboratory conducting mysterious experiments. However, there are people who are not only scientifically-minded but who also enjoy working with people. Masego actually has a Master’s degree in biotechnology, but discovered that she didn’t enjoy the long laboratory hours that come with this field.
After learning more about science communication she shifted her focus within the scientific field to a more people-orientated career. “I attended an African Science Communication conference organised by SAASTA (South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement) in 2006. After listening to various speakers, I realised that this is the kind of work I’m interested in,” she explains.
Masego now dedicates her time to organising and facilitating science awareness projects which are conceptualized and implemented by the PUB programme, a government-funded programme which is implemented by SAASTA.
Although the nature of Masego’s work is very different from that of a biotechnologist, she remains passionate about the field and about increasing awareness among the public, especially the youth. “I love what I do and I see myself growing in this field. My goal is to