Iziphozonke ‘Izi’ Mlambo is studying Human Biology at Biola University, California. Izi suffered from a weak immune system as a child and was often in and out of hospital, though it inspired him to pursue Medicine after seeing doctors working valiantly on the front line.
Raised in South Africa along with seven other dependants by his physically challenged uncle after his parents passed away, Izi sometimes even lacked transport money to attend school but nevertheless excelled academically and never lost sight of his dream to study Medicine and raise up other disadvantaged young people.
Izi is the co-founder and Vice President of Science Buddies, a non-profit organisation that develops youth science talent. Science Buddies focuses on learners from higher primary to high school, nurturing young scientists by providing them with the opportunity to participate in global science fairs and competitions while giving them access to personal professional mentors that assist them with developing their innovative ideas and solutions. Today, Science Buddies has reached over 100 learners from different backgrounds, connected them to over 50 mentors, and partnered with over 15 science fairs, societies and competitions worldwide. Science Buddies is currently focusing on a Rural Development Project which targets Science Talent from rural, poorer areas, working closely with the South African government and schools to establish science centres and laboratories.
Izi has also launched a non-profit, The Rising Stars Foundation, which focuses on developing youth and is currently focusing on students with university and bursary applications.
Izi has represented South Africa at many international competitions and fairs, earning the prestigious Trophy for Ambassadorship Award from Newcastle High School and was also the only South African senior at The International Africa Science Buskers’ Festival 2020 where he earned a silver medal together with The People's Choice Award. In 2020, Izi was invited as the only senior to represent South Africa at the Global Regeneron Science Talent Search Competition, and, amongst hundreds of thousands of the world’s brightest young scientists and innovators, Izi was selected as one of 300 Top Young Scientists. This then moved the recruitment office of Biola University in, California to award Izi a full scholarship.
He represented South Africa at the Eskom Expo International Science Fair held in Boksburg annually and was also the third Top Junior Mathematician in South Africa in the Siyavula 1MillionMaths Challenge. He is also a National Top 10 Junior Creative and represented South Africa at the virtual Creative Writing challenge hosted by the Global Goi Peace Foundation in 2020. A gifted public speaker, Izi was named South Africa’s Junior Public Speaker of the Year in 2018 and in 2020 made the National Top 9 Public Speakers in South Africa.
At Biola University, Izi is one of the Executive members of the African Students Association, a club that brings together students who affiliate with the African continent. He then formed a coalition with the campus Black Student Association, building a bridge between the two communities.