29 May 2022

Leitrim student claims a top prize at IT Sligo's SciFest

Leitrim student claims a top prize at IT Sligo's SciFest

Dr Bill Crowe Scifest Organiser IT Sligo and Dr Frances Lucy Head of Department of Environmental Science with Senior 1st Prize in Life Science Ella Sloane from St Clare's CS, Manorhamilton.

The senior first prize in Life Science at the 11th annual SciFest@ITSligo science fair was recently presented to Ella Sloane from St Claire's Comprehensive School, Manorhamilton.

Her project was Habitat Study: An Investigation Into The Correlation Between Increased Red Grouse Numbers And High Ling Heather Average Heights In Leitrim Boglands.

Rachel McPartlin from the same schoool was second with her project 'Investigation Into Calcium Ion Levels In The Anatomy of Adult Fracture in Patients and awareness of osteoporosis among students. 

Teacher Edel McPhelim teaches both students.

Niamh Carolan and Emma Birney from Magh Ena College in Bundoran, Co Donegal took top prize at the event which was held last Wednesday, May 9.

The duo, who were accompanied by their teacher Yvonne Higgins, were chosen from 150 other projects exhibited by approximately 370 students from across the North West to win the Science Foundation Ireland Best Project Award.

They now progress to the national final in Dublin where they will compete for the Boston Scientific Medical Devices Grand Award on 9 November. 

Their project was called ‘The Attraction of Maglev Trains’, a study into the thermos-magnetic properties of negatively accelerating objects. They were presented with their coveted prize by Dr Brendan McCormack, president, IT Sligo.

Dr Bill Crowe, SciFest@ITSligo organiser, said the quality of the projects exhibited illustrated a passion for STEM among second-level students in the North West. 

He said: “As always, the projects entered by the students in SciFest were impressive, engaging and thought-provoking. It’s clearly evident from the high standard of research that has gone into the entries this year that second-level students from across the region are passionate about science, technology, engineering and maths. 

"SciFest is a competition that aims to encourage students to develop an interest in STEM, while prioritising inclusivity and inquiry-based learning. We are proud to support such a valuable programme.”

The SciFest science fairs programme is a national initiative founded in 2006 to encourage a love of STEM through active, collaborative, inquiry-based learning. 
The programme offers an innovative way to expose students to, and enhance their understanding of, STEM subjects.

IT Sligo, which has hosted the North West regional finals since 2008, was one of 16 regional science fairs taking place across the country, illustrating a surge in STEM popularity among second-level students in Ireland.

Niamh and Emma will be looking to follow in the footsteps of 2017 national award winner Aaron Hannon from St. Muredach’s College in Ballina whose project “EnableArm”, a unique shaving device for people with limited hand dexterity, was named best in the country. Aaron is travelling to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this week to represent Ireland at the International Science and Engineering Fair. 

The 2018 national winner will represent his or her country in Phoenix, Arizona next spring.

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