Two Transition Year students from Roscommon have scooped the top prize at SciFest2014@IT Sligo.
Erica Neilan and Nicole Dolan from Meánscoil Muire Gan Smál (Convent of Mercy) in Roscommon won the top award for their work on the Use of Ultasonics for sterilisation in brewing and fermentation.
“The aim of our project was to kill off yeast in cider and beer,” explained a delighted Nicole. “The chemical being used in alcohol at the moment is very harmful for your body over time. So, we used a sonicator, a high-pitched sound, to kill off the yeast.”
The girls were mentored by their teacher Padraig Harlow, who also collected the overall Teacher award.
SciFest@IT Sligo is now into its seventh year at IT Sligo and, this year, attracted record entries from schools across counties Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Donegal and Cavan. 341 students took part exhibiting 139 projects.
“I think what’s great about this event is that it’s not elitist” said Jerry Bird, Head of Science at IT Sligo. “There are a huge number of awards over a range of different levels. It engages so many secondary school children in Science – and in a really positive manner.”
The SciFest programme is primarily sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Science & Engineering Programme and Intel Ireland. It is also supported by a number of other companies and organisations.
Erica and Nicole will now go forward, together with 13 other SciFest regional winners from around Ireland, to compete in the National Final in November.
Pictured level to right: George Porter, SciFest Ireland; Erica Neilan & Nicole Dolan, Overall winners, & Padraig Harlow, Science Teacher at Meánscoil Muire Gan Smál, Roscommon.
Dr James Brennan, Head of Life Sciences at IT Sligo, chats with contestants at SciFest2014@IT Sligo.
Karen Healy, Lorna Salmon and Donna Doherty from Gaelcholáiste Chomáin, Rossport, put the finishing touches to their project at SciFest2014@IT Sligo.