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St Joseph's Secondary School Navan win Top Prize at SciFest@DkIT

12 May 2023

Schools from across the North Leinster and South Ulster region recently came together with hundreds of their second-level student peers to compete in the SciFest@DkIT 2023 regional competition at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT). This exciting and high energy event had 140 projects on exhibition and over 250 second level students in attendance on the day. The judges had an extremely difficult task of shortlisting the regional winners due to the high calibre of projects presented.

The top prize on the day, the Best Project Award went to Mya Doocery and Mia Galligan from St Joseph's Secondary School Navan for the Project P.E-riod which investigated the impact menstruation can have on sports activity. 2nd Prize for the Runner-up Best Project Award was awarded to Lorcán Garvin from Coláiste Chú Chulainn, Dundalk for his project Investigating the amount of microplastics in the sand at beaches around Co Louth.

County Meath was well represented at SciFest@DkIT and not only did St Joesph’s Secondary school Navan walk away with the Best Project, but they also took home the Accenture Maths in Science Award which was awarded to Sophie Connell and Silvia Ana Simhas for their project Fibonacci and the Golden Ratio. Other Meath winners included Niamh Collins, Grace Reilly and Rachel Whyte from Scoil Mhuire, Trim who won the Smurfit Kappa Sustainability Award for their project ‘Wrap Up, Winter is Coming’. Eureka Secondary School also picked up the DkIT Intermediate Life Sciences Award, which was won by Muireann Monaghan, Siohie Rogan and Dayna McGoohan for their ‘Puff Nation’ Project.

Coláiste Chú Chulainn, Dundalk who picked up the Runner Up Best Project Award also went home with the coveted Eirgrid Delivering a Cleaner Energy Future Award  which was awarded to John Dunning for his Comparative study looking at Nitrogen Dioxide levels affecting air quality.

Other Louth winners included St Olivers Community College, Drogheda who picked up an astounding three prestigious awards, the Boston Scientific Medical Devices Award was bestowed to Leah Newman and Craig Lawlor for their Project – ‘Can arthritis sufferers benefit from leverage?’ And the DkIT Junior Life Science Award was awarded to Megha Elaiyaraja for ‘How do mobile phones and other technology negatively affect the mental health, general well-being and sleep of teenagers?’ The final award picked up by the college was the Business Excellence Institute Award for their project ‘Is there a way to further promote independence among wheelchair users?’ by Aoife Lawlor, Hollie Taaffe and Jemma Winters. St Joseph’s CBS in Drogheda received the acclaimed Institute of Physics Award which was awarded to Jack Clinton and Pedro Martinez Garcia for their project, ‘Which material and shape makes the best parachute?’

Castleblayney College, Co Monaghan picked up two awards at the event including Intermediate Life Science Runner Up Award which was awarded to Enja Kohlmann and Enora Gicquel for their ‘Confusing Colours’ project and the Dawn Meats Agricultural Science Award was picked up by Rachel McLaughlin, Keira McLaughlin and Rebecca Harris for ‘If in drought, wool will help out!’ Co Monaghan was also proudly represented by Largy College who won the DkIT Senior Life Science Award by Karolis Rute, Donna Burns and Kevin Dapkus for their project A STEM Programme to ease the transition from primary science to Junior Cycle Science.

Co Cavan left DkIT’s campus with two awards firmly in their hands with the prizes being picked up by Breifne College, Co Cavan for Nicole Kurkuzinskaite project ‘Can Immunity Be Built Up From Allergies?’ this study won the by Regeneron Life Sciences Award. Breifne College also went home with the DkIT Intermediate Physical Sciences or Technology Award which was bestowed on Caitlin O'Rourke and Orlaith McGreevy for their innovative ‘Experiment to see if interactive software is better than textbooks’.

Bremore Educate Together Secondary School County Dublin walked away with two awards on the day including the SciFest Communication Award which was awarded to Keanu Krapivniks, Wiktoria Jez and Ola Lawal for their project ‘When Tate didn't Ate’. Bremore was also awarded the Intel Technology Award for ‘Creating a device that monitors the windows in our school to save energy’ by Doran Ayub and Sevastian Zvanbergs.

Other awards presented on the day were the ISTA (Irish Science Teachers Association) Student Award which was picked up by Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan and was created by Aisling Ní Aonghusa and Grace Allen for the project ‘How does the Stroop Effect influence various age groups with regards to sex, sleep and energy drinks?’ And finally the SciFest Chemistry Award was awarded to Ardgillan Community College, Co Dublin and presented to Sami Khan for ‘Investigating the pH, dissolved solids and suspended solids in the Boyne River going upstream’.

SciFest@DkIT co-ordinator Dr Edel Healy, Head of School of Health & Science, DkIT said:

“Today on campus has been a great day, we really enjoyed welcoming the post primary students and their teachers from our region to SciFest 2023. It was wonderful to see the inventiveness and ingenuity of all the projects. We can safely say the future is bright for STEM in the Northeast.”

SciFest is an all-island STEM initiative which fosters active, collaborative and inquiry-based learning among second-level students. The programme operates throughout the school year and, being locally and regionally based and free-to-enter, is highly inclusive and accessible. Winners from each regional STEM fair go on to compete at a National Final in November.

Commenting on the SciFest@DkIT regional STEM fair Sheila Porter, SciFest Founder and CEO said:

“As we mark the 18th year of SciFest, more than 80,000 students have participated in the programme to date, and 2023 has been another stellar year for projects in science, technology, engineering and maths. SciFest gives students an excellent opportunity to develop their interest in STEM and in inquiry-based approaches to learning, while developing their creative and problem-solving skills and learning to work in a team.”

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