Alice's SciFest Story

Alice's SciFest Story

Alice’s SciFest Story

My name is Alice Shaughnessy. I’m 17 years old and from Oranmore, Galway. I’m currently studying engineering in NUI Galway, but my SciFest story started in fifth year in Calasanctius College in 2019.

I entered SciFest on a whim in March of 2019. I had heard of the competition before but was unsure how it worked. I couldn’t believe how accessible it was. Everyone gets an opportunity to present their projects to judges, from locals through regionals to nationals.

In May 2019 I won my regional, SciFest@GMIT, with my project ‘Omnidirectional Magnetic Driving System.’ The judges were so understanding, even when I showed up a bit late after a date mix up!

I further developed my project in the following months. I then competed in SciFest nationals that November in Dublin where I was awarded Intel’s Technology award.

Sometime later, I was offered the opportunity by SciFest to represent Ireland at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering (ISEF) Fair 2020 which was to be held in Anaheim, California. What an honour! Unfortunately, COVID-19 led to the competition component being cancelled but the virtual fair that replaced it was very interesting and even included Nobel Prize winning speakers!

This August, SciFest invited me to compete at the Hong Kong Youth Federation’s Global Youth Science and Technology Bowl (GYSTB) 2020, representing Ireland along with two other SciFest award winners, Timothy McGrath and Ruth Madden. The competition attracted entries from 22 countries and regions across the globe. Ninety-three finalists were selected for online judging. I was delighted to be placed third in the physics and engineering category.

Over the summer, SciFest informed me of an opportunity to apply for Patch, a summer accelerator for exceptional young people. I was part of the cohort for 6 weeks. Here I met Jack O’Regan Kenny, a previous SciFest@AIT winner.

As a result of Patch Jack and I have set up a company developing novel touch screen smart mirrors, ‘Mirr: looks like a mirror, works like a tablet.’ We’ve recently been accepted into the New Frontiers Programme where we will receive €15k to develop our project. We’ve just launched a new website too at

SciFest allows you to develop endless skills and confidence. It has led me to so many amazing opportunities that I could never have imagined, and it has only been a year and a half since I first filled in that application form! You never know where it might bring you.

I only have one regret, not getting involved sooner!

Alice Shaughnessy

November 2020

22 2024
SciFest@School in Seamount College, Kinvara, Co. Galway
22 2024
SciFest@School in Malahide & Portmarnock ETSS, Swords Enterprise Park, Feltrim Road, Drinan, Swords
22 2024
SciFest@College in SETU Carlow
23 2024
SciFest@College in TUS Moylish
Michael D. Higgins, Patron of SciFest
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