The SciFest National Final 2015 – SciFest@SFI Discover - took place in the Marino Conference Centre, Dublin on Friday 6th November. The overall winners from each of the 15 regional SciFest science fairs exhibited their projects and competed for a number of awards, including the SciFest 2015 Grand Award - a trophy and an all-expenses-paid trip to Phoenix, Arizona to represent Ireland in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in May 2016. The winning student was Louis Madden from Largy College, Analore Road,  Clones, Co. Monaghan. Louis will be accompanied to Phoenix by his teacher/mentor  Sharon Magennis who was presented with the Intel Teacher of Excellence award. Louis won the top award - the SFI Discover Award - at SciFest@College in the Dundalk Institute of Technology in May. Congratulations to Louis for his project "Bringing Genetics to the Masses: The next step in genetic research".  Using cheap and recycled materials which cost him less than €150, he built a device to conduct genetic tests simply, cheaply and efficiently.
The prize for the highest scoring project in the Intermediate or Senior Physical Sciences and Technology categories, excluding the overall winner, went to Eoin Hayes and Adam Burke from Coláiste Chiaráin, Croom, Co. Limerick. Their prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to the Long Night of Science in Berlin next June for the students and their teacher, Edel Farrell. Eoin and Adam's project "The handy guide to sign language" aims to help learning Irish Sign Language (ISL).  They built a glove which makes use of an Arduino Nano to allow users to learn ISL at their own pace in the comfort of their own home using a computer.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) sponsors a prize for the best "sustainable energy" project at each of the Scifest@College events. From these, the top five or six projects are chosen and the students are invited to compete for a special prize at the National Final. A panel of SEAI judges assessed the projects and the top prize was awarded to Lúc de Barra  from Coláiste Raithín, Bóthar Florence, Bré, Co.. Chill Mhantáin.  Lúc's prize is an all-expenses-paid trip with his teacher/mentor Lís Ní Chíobháin to the Netherlands to participate in the International Environment and Sustainability Project Olympiad (INESPO) next May/June.  Luc's project investigated the viability of pine needles as a new alternative biodiesel source.
Boston Scientific sponsors a prize for the best medical devices project at each of the Scifest@College events. From these, the top five or six projects are chosen and the students are invited to compete for a special prize at the National Final. A panel of Boston Scientific judges assessed the projects and the top prize was awarded to Cillian Gartlan from Patrician High School, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan. Cillian's project focused on how to mitigate risks associated with stroke.  Congratulations to Cillian and his teacher, John O'Rourke. Cillian's prize consists of an engraved trophy and acheque for €500. All of the six finalists have been invited to visit the Boston Scientific site in Galway in the Spring where they will be given a tour of the facility.
The Institutes of Technology Ireland (IOTI) award, introduced for the first time this year, went to the highest scoring maths project, excluding the winners of the SciFest Grand Award and the Berlin Long Night of Science Award. The award was presented to Mark Lyons from Lanesboro Community College, Lanesboro, Co. Longford for his project "The Price of a Profit - A Statistical Analysis of the Effects of the GMS Charge".  Mark's project investigated how changes in the GMS charge affected the numbers of people declining prescribed medications. Mark's prize consisted of an engraved trophy and a cheque for €75. Congratulations to Mark and his teacher, Michael Lyons.

The annual Irish Science Teachers' Association award went to the highest scoring project in the Life Sciences category, excluding the winners of the SciFest Grand Award and the IOTI Award.The prize, an engraved trophy, was presented to Liam Passmore from John the Baptist Community School, Hospital, Co. Limerick. Congratulations to Liam and his teacher Michelle Buckley, for his project titled "A Statistical Analysis of Whether Segregating Males and Females for PE Will Increase Participation and Physical Activity Levels".

The final award, new to the Scifest National Finals for 2015, was the Spirit of Scifest Award which acknowledges the student/s in the Junior category who best  pesonify the spirit of SciFests. This award was presented to Eve McGlinchey from St Leo's College, Dublin Road, Carlow for her project "Voice Controlled Home Automation with Raspberry Pi Technology".  Eve received an inscribed trohy as her prize. Congratulations to Eve and her teacher Julie Egan.

 

Each of the 27 finalists was presented with an Excellence in STEM award to mark their achievement in reaching the natinal final of SciFest 2015. Details of the finalists and their projects are given below. Their project abstracts can be accessed here.

 

The SciFest 2015 National Finalists (Winning projects are highlighted in green)

Inst of Technology / Venue School Teacher Students Project Title
Athlone Lanesborough Community College, Lanesborough, Co Longford Michael Lyons Mark Lyons The Price of a Profit - A Statistical Analysis of the effects of the GMS Charge
Blanchardstown Skerries Community College, Skerries, Co Dublin Katie Corbett Sophie Sheahan, Adam McGrane The use of Halophytes on Marginal Coastal Land as Carbon Sinks
Carlow St Leo's College, Dublin Road, Carlow Julie Egan Eve McGlinchey Voice controlled Home Automation with Raspberry Pi technology
Cork Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál, Blarney, Co Cork Sean Foley Sarah Kate Sweeney Maths behind Music
Derry St Mary's College, Northland Road, L'Derry, Northern Ireland Ann Blanking Laura McLaughlin, Aine Gillespie Investigating the Ability of Egg Membrance to absorb Carbon Dioxide and the development of a fan/filter that can remove Carbon Dioxide from the air
DIT Scoil Chaitríona, Mobhi Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 9 Brian O'Gallachóir Oran Ó Donnabháin Cost Effective Sound Localisation Sensor Arrays for Autonomous Mobile Platforms
Dundalk Largy College, Analore Road, Clones, Co Monaghan Sharon Magennis Louis Madden Bringing Genetics to the Masses: The Next Step in Genetic Research
Galway-Mayo Yeats College, College Road, Galway Corinna Mahoney Conall Vincent McCabe Complexity in Chaos
Letterkenny Crana College, Crana Road, Buncrana, Co Donegal Philip McGuinness Hannah Dominguez McLaughlin, Conor Gildea, Claire Barron Classroom or Class Doom? An in-depth Analysis into the Effects of Using Google Classroom.
Limerick Coláiste Chiaráin, Croom, Co Limerick Edel Farrell Eoin Hayes, Adam Burke The Handy Guide to Sign Language
Sligo Drumshambo Vocational School, Drumshambo, Co Leitrim Pauline McBarron Anna Corcoran, Aine Kelly, Niamh McNamara Decibels of D.V.S.
Tallaght Sutton Park School, St Fintan's Road, Sutton, Dublin 13 Catherine Tattersall Claire Nichols Correlation or Coincidence? Solar Flares, Lunar Phases and Stock Market Activity
Tipperary Scoil Chríost Rí, Borris Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois Breege Masterson Ciara Burke, Isabel Dwyer, Clodagh Howe  
Tralee John the Baptist Community School, Hospital, Co Limerick Michelle Buckley Liam Passmore Statistical Analysis of Whether Segregating Males and Females for PE Will Increase Participation and Physical Activity Levels
Waterford CBS Secondary School, James Street, Kilkenny Lisa Cosgrove Conor Flynn, Conor Cantwell Functional Movement Training in Young GAA Players

 

The SciFest 2015 SEAI Finalists (Winning project is highlighted in green)

Inst of Technology / Venue School Teacher Students Project Title
Tralee Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí, Tobar Mhaigh Dor, Trá Lí Elaine Ní Dheargáin Janine Ní Chonchúir, Ursula Ní Mhochóir, Lorraine De Nais Fuinnimh Tonnta Gan Creimniú Cósta (Reducing Costal Erosion while Generating Electricity from Wave Energy)
Blanchardstown Dominican College, 204 Griffith Avenue, Dublin 9 Mick Moriarty Aisling Patterson, Niamh Wilson The Automation of Light Intensity for Energy Conservation
Limerick Scoil Mhuire, Ennistymon, Co Clare Sue-Ann Sheridan Aoibhe Cronin, Ciara McInerney An Investigation into the use of Fucus Serratus and Fucus Vesiculosis as a Raw Material for Thermal Energy Production
Thurles Borrisokane Community College, Borrisokane, Co Tipperary Niamh O'Sullivan Lorcan Tuohy It's an ill Wind That Blows No Good!
Cork Clonakilty Community College, Clonakilty, Co Cork Patrick O'Keeffe Tom O'Donovan, Robbie Matthews, James Hayes An Investigation into the Effect of LEDs on Plant Growth
DIT Coláiste Raithín, Bóthar Florence, Bré, Co. Chill Mhantáin Lís Ní Chíobháin Luc de Barra An Investigation of the Potential of Pine Needles as a new Altnernative Biodiesel Source

The SciFest 2015 Boston Scientific Finalists (Winning project is highlighted in green)

Inst of Technology / Venue School Teacher Students Project Title
DIT Sutton Park School, St Fintan's Road, Sutton, Dublin 13 Catherine Tattersall Moritz Ziewer A Medical Device to Assist Doctors Finding Veins
Cork Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Road, Cork Aaron O'Sullivan Zainab Baker, Aoife O'Driscoll A Smoke Detector for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Dundalk Patrician High School, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan John O'Rourke Cillian Gartlan Harnessing Patient Information to Mitigate Risks Associated with Stroke Treatment
Blanchardstown Loreto Secondary School, St Michael's, Navan, Co Meath Helena Smyth Eleanor Murchan Challenges for Blind People in Identifying Euro Notes: Exploring one Cost Effective Solution
Tralee Killorglin Community College, Langford Street, Killorglin, Co. Kerry Donal O'Reilly Timothy McGrath, Donal Brennan Virtual Visual - An App that Guides a Visually Impaired Person Around an Unfamiliar Building
Tallaght Sutton Park School, St Fintan's Road, Sutton, Dublin 13 Catherine Tattersall Cherie O'Keeffe, Jonathan Andrews, David Joyce A Medical Device to Treat Hand Burns

 

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