THE winners of the 52nd BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, two students from Dublin, were announced last Friday night week.
Maria Louise Fufezan (16) and Diana Bura (15) took home the top prize for their project entitled, ‘An Investigation into the Effects of Enzymes used in Animal Feed Additives on the Lifespan of Caenorhabditis Elegans’.
The announcement was made in the BT Arena at Dublin’s RDS by Jan O’Sullivan, TD, Minister for Education and Skills, and Shay Walsh, managing director, BT Ireland. The group entered in the intermediate section of the biological & ecological sciences category.
Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, said that one of the things that always strikes her about the exhibition is its timing – the beginning of a new year. ‘For many of the participants here, this may indeed represent the beginning of a new phase in your lives, the beginning of a love affair with science, with scholarship and research.’
There was a very big attendance by schools from West Cork, with students making the long trip to the capital during the week to view the work of 1,200 students from across the island of Ireland covering 550 projects from 29 counties.
The award for Best Individual went to transition year student Shane Curran (aged 16) from Terenure College in Dublin.
Schull Community College said it was the school’s most successful exhibition, with five projects on display and four of those projects winning a range of awards.
Noah McCarthy Fisher won First Prize in his section for his project: What would it take? A study into the renewable energy needs of an Irish village. Noah was also presented with a special award, the Mary Robinson Foundation Climate Justice Award, for his project which explored how feasible it would be for Ballydehob to become self-sufficient in sustainable energy, such as wind and solar power.
The Intermediate Social and Behavioural Group was the largest section in the competition and Culann McCarthy and Andrew Cahier were awarded Third Prize for their project Hand Hygiene & Absenteeism which examined the possible link between increasing hand washing and therefore increasing attendance of students in primary school.
Fifth year students Elyssa Curran and Aishling Connolly came third in the Biological and Ecological Senior Group. They looked at the effect of worm compost on tree growth with a view to it being used as an alternative fertiliser in environmentally-sensitive areas.
Second years Martin Fleming and Luke Franklin were Highly Commended for their project on prawns and food safety where they investigated a method for monitoring Sulphite levels in Prawns. Tarah Fleming, Aoife Nash and Hollie Collins’ project was about trying to increase the intake of young children’s fruit and vegetables, using a simple rewards-based game to be used in the home.
The groups were mentored by teachers Lara Kelly and Padraig O’Sullivan.
The staff and students of Kinsale Community School were also celebrating with some great results at this year’s event.
Alva White was placed third in the individual awards in the Biological and Ecological Junior Group for her project that looked at the effect the pH of water has on the yield of wheatgrass.
Conor Horan was also placed third in the individual awards in the Social and Behavioural Junior Group for his project which examined whether people have become desensitized to human suffering. The school’s winning ways also continued with David Daly coming second in the Social and Behavioural Junior Group for his statistical analysis of the current migrant crisis.
Cliodhna Doyle and Freyja Hellbust were placed third in the Social and Behavioural Junior Group for their study of the effects of photo based social media on body image.
Other West Cork schools also performed well including the Sacred Heart Secondary School in Clonakilty where Niamh Kiely and Fionnula Garvey came second in the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Group for their study at what makes Sudoko puzzles vary in difficulty. Several students from Bandon Grammar School were highly commended for their projects while Carena McCarthy picked up a teacher award and she received a BT Biological and Ecological Educator of Excellence.