Sizi Bebe: Co-founder and Executive Technical Director
Sizi Bebe has overcome much adversity in her life, but her positive and hopeful attitude shines through. Born in Zimbabwe, Sizi’s knack for science and mathematics led her to study engineering at the University of Zimbabwe. Her undergraduate degree further piqued her scientific curiosity, so she decided to head to Australia to do graduate work in polymers, a substance with a molecular structure made chiefly from a large number of similar units bonded together.
“Almost everything we use on a daily basis contains polymers,” says Sizi. “I find this fascinating.”
A family crisis brought her back to Zimbabwe, making it impossible to complete her PhD in Australia, but not before she had earned an MSc from the University of Sydney. A health crisis brought her to Kingston to stay with her sister. Sizi warmed to the city and decided to raise her two children there. During her recovery she contacted Dr. Robin Hutchinson, a Chemical Engineering professor at Queen’s, who encouraged Sizi to continue her doctoral studies.
Today, Sizi is the co-founder and Executive Technical Director of DAS Innovations Corporation, an Ottawa-based firm that collaborates with St. Lawrence College and the University of Waterloo on the complex and evolving world of polymers and nanotechnology. DAS researches and develops innovative technologies that improve day-to-day living conditions and alleviate challenges, such as energy storage systems.
Sizi is also contributing in her homeland: she has helped to establish the Polymer Sciences Institute in Harare to bring awareness of how important polymers are in everyday life. This will also advance research and development of polymer products derived from Zimbabwe’s abundant natural resources, including coal, platinum, and chromium.
“Quite a lot can be done with natural products found locally in Zimbabwe,” she says.
When Sizi comes to Canada, she has a chance to see her children, who are now of university age. When in Zimbabwe, Sizi likes to explore the natural beauty of her homeland.
“Victoria Falls, game reserves, the mountains … it’s all beautiful,” she says. “I’ve really come to appreciate it since I’ve been away and come back.”