Co. Kerry Students Announced as Winners of SciFest 2009

Kerry Student Winners of SciFest 2009 6 th May, 2009 â¿¿ Marion Lynch a student from Colaiste na Sceilge, Cahersiveen was today announced as the Over all winner - Best Project at Scifest 2009 which took place in the Institute of Technology, Tralee. SciFest is a one day festival of science, which includes a competition and exhibition of projects, a selection of science talks, science demonstrations in the college laboratories and a prize-giving ceremony. Students from schools throughout the county entered and attended SciFest 2009 in the Institute of Technology Tralee.

Marion won the Overall Award with a project that looked at the prevention of slugs and snails attacking cabbage plants using natural methods.  

Other prizes on the day included the Abbott Runner Up Best Project Award, won by Tim Farrell and Richard Raferty from Mercy Mounthawk Secondary School Tralee , the BT Best Communicator Award, which was won by Caoimhe Bonner from Presentation Secondary School, Milltown,   The Discover Sensors Award, which went to Sadh Oâ¿¿Donnell from Presentation Secondary School, Tralee.   The Dairymaster Best School Award went to Colaiste na Sceilge from Cahersiveen.   Sinead Breen, Kitty Nolan and Louise Lawlor students from St. Josephâ¿¿s Secondary School in Ballybunion won the Best Life Science award.   The Best Physical Award went to Sadh Oâ¿¿Donnell from Presentation Secondary while the Best Technology Award was presented to Damien Sharpe, Orla Horan and Sarah Guirean students from Mercy Mounthawk Tralee.  

Kerry Student Winners of SciFest 09 Sheila Porter, SciFest National Coordinator, congratulated the winning students. ⿿ Science and technology has been identified as being key to the country⿿s long term growth and to the development of Ireland⿿s smart economy. As such, it is incredibly exciting to see the massive scale and breadth of the entries into this year⿿s SciFest and with greater competition than any year previous, all congratulations are due to this year⿿s winners. Together, our young scientists point to a very bright future for Ireland⿿s science and technology sectors.⿝

Up to 2,000 students entered SciFest 2009 which took place in fourteen Institutes of Technology around the country - Athlone, Blanchardstown, Dublin, Dundalk, Carlow, Cork, Galway/Mayo,   Letterkenny, Limerick, Sligo, Tallaght, Tipperary, Waterford, and Tralee. Nearly 900 projects were entered in total in 2009, compared to 680 projects in 2008.

Sheila Porter continued, ⿿SciFest also creates an important link with Ireland⿿s Institutes of Technology and industry and provides young students with a valuable opportunity to experience the study of science, engineering and ICT first hand and, by participating in hands-on science activities and experiments, students can dispose of any veil of uncertainty that may surround the study of science beyond secondary school. I would like to congratulate and thank all those who took part in this year⿿s exhibitions, students, teachers, local coordinators, judges and sponsors alike, and I look forward with real anticipation to another year of science and another year of SciFest.⿝

Dr. Edmond Harty, Technical Director of Dairymaster commented , â¿¿The quality of the projects at SciFest were outstanding. The innovation and the amount of work by students is commendable."   Dr. Harty added â¿¿Dairymaster are delighted to be associated with SciFest 2009 at IT, Tralee.   This event provides a focus for the development of science and engineering in the region and students should be encouraged to participate in the event next year.⿝  

SciFest was originally created as a result of the enormous success of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, and was designed to cater for the excess demand. In addition, SciFest provides another platform for students who wish to exhibit their work and share their findings with other like-minded students in a creative and educational environment. SciFest has the additional advantage that it is locally based which makes it more accessible to students and allows them to view the facilities and courses available in their local Institute of Technology.   Last year nine Institutes of Technology hosted SciFest; this year the remaining five Institutes also hosted SciFest in response to local demand.  

Following a successful pilot in 2008, an online element was added to this yearâ¿¿s exhibition, with Project Blogger. This allowed students to create individual blogs to keep a record of their SciFest entries and share their experiments with participating students from around the country. Such blogs then formed part of studentsâ¿¿ exhibitions at the SciFest events, tracking the projectâ¿¿s path from conception to completion by uploading images, ideas, graphs and video files to the web.

SciFest is jointly funded by Intel and Discover Science and Engineering. It is supported by a number of other partners and the Institutes of Technology. Dairymaster supported the event at the Institute of Technology, Tralee.   The project thus creates a valuable link between the second and third level education sectors and between education and industry.

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