Post-primary students from schools in Kerry attended the SciFest 2014 exhibition at the Institute of Technology, Tralee on Thursday 8th April. SciFest is a series of one day science fairs funded by Intel Ireland and Discover Science and Engineering as project partners and hosted nationwide by the Institutes of Technology.
Students representing Mercy Mounthawk Tralee, Intermediate School Killorglin, Coláiste na Sceilige and Gael Cholasiste, Chiarrai, Tralee, Causeway Comprehensive, St Brendan’s College, Killarney, St Brigid’s Presentation, Killarney, St Michael’s College, Listowel and the Presentation Secondary School Tralee exhibited a range of science and technology projects, demonstrating some excellent innovative ideas that captured the imagination of those in attendance.
Over 200 students visited the exhibition hall in addition to attending a key note address by Paul McCrory of Learning Differently. This address was followed by a talk from Daire Ó hUallacháin and Graham Parker of SFI Discovery on ‘Smart Futures – Exploring Careers’ and a talk on courses available at the IT, Tralee in the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by Dr Joseph Walsh, Head of School.
Dr Ultan McCarthy, IMaR Centre Manager at IT, Tralee led the judging panel which included; Dr Henry Lyons, Brandon Products, Dr Tim Yeomans, Shannon ABC at IT, Tralee, Dr Neil Maher, Doctor Maher’s Ltd., Dr Bridget Breen, Shannon ABC at LIT and Mr Ogie Sheehy, ViClarity. Commenting on the event Dr McCarthy said, “Each year the judging panel is impressed at the level of thought that students put into their projects and this year the standard of entry has been extremely high. Post-primary students in the region are displaying a real interest in the sciences and you only need to take a look at the variety of projects and experiments exhibited here today to see that they have put a great deal of thought and research into their SciFest project. SciFest is a competition that allows students to develop their study of science, engineering and maths and apply it to everyday life and we are proud to support it.”
Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO who attended the event said: “Since SciFest was launched nationwide six years ago it has gone from strength to strength. I am continually amazed by the passion and dedication demonstrated by the students. SciFest is a celebration of STEM subjects. It encourages students to push the boundaries of the classroom, use their knowledge of science, investigate and be creative in their projects. The achievement of these students is an inspiration to us all and is a tribute to them and to the hard work and support of their teachers.”
The overall competition was won by brothers Jack, James and Harry Knoblauch of St Brendan’s College, Killarney who received the SFI/Discover Science and Engineering Best Project Award. Their project investigated whether there is a future for microhydro electricity in Ireland.