Yale Young African Scholars and Yale Young Global Scholars alum wins 2020 Reimagine Challenge

Phyllis Mugadza ‘21 BA, ‘22 MPH says she wasn’t entirely familiar with the U.S. college experience when attending high school in Zimbabwe, but when she learned about the Yale Young African Scholars (YYAS) program, she applied and was accepted. “It was the first time I heard about the liberal arts,” Mugadza says. “It began my journey into American education.”

Following her experience with the YYAS, Mugadza applied for the Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) program, an intensive, competitive summer enrichment program for promising high school students from over 125 countries. It was her first time traveling to the United States, and she says: “I fell in love with Yale, and the program. It was very diverse — there were people there from all over the world. They were very active in their communities, and they were very accomplished.” 

Now, Mugadza, who is pursuing a joint Bachelors Degree and Masters of Public Heath, has been named a winner of the prestigous ‘Reimagine Challenge.’ Mugadza’s proposal for the challenge sought to find a solution for the global waste crisis. “Contrary to popular belief, a lot of waste has been dumped into oceans, is taken to landfills, or shipped to countries with poor waste management systems, like my country Zimbabwe,” Mugadza said. “Although these developing nations have become a dumping site for industrialized nations, they are a source of genius ways to turn our trash into treasure.”

This Friday, Mugadza will participate in a Facebook live event with the Yale School of Public Health. She will discuss her upcoming projects, which center around promoting dignity and empowerment, and include developing a reusable menstrual product and proposing upcycling makerspaces for recycling in developing nations.

Learn about Phyllis’ experience as a Yale Young Global Scholar here.

Read more about the award on the Yale Daily News site here.

View Phyllis’ conversation with the Yale School of Public Health’s below.