Clare @Regeneron ISEF 2022

Clare @Regeneron ISEF 2022

Clare Participates in Regeneron ISEF 2022 in Atlanta

SciFest STEM Champion Clare Reidy, a sixth-year student from Our Lady's Bower Secondary School in Athlone, represented Ireland at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2022 which took place in Atlanta Georgia, 8 – 13 May. Clare won the Best Project Award at SciFest@College 2021 in the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS), Athlone Campus. This qualified her to compete in the SciFest National Final 2021 where she won the top award and became the SciFest STEM Champion 2021. Her prize was a trophy and an all-expenses paid trip to represent Ireland and SciFest at Regeneron ISEF 2022.

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Regeneron ISEF is a program of The Society for Science for over 70 years and is the world’s largest global science competition for high school. Through a global network of local, regional and national science fairs, millions of students are encouraged to explore their passion for scientific inquiry. Each spring, a group of these students is selected as finalists and offered the opportunity to compete for approximately U.S. $8 million in awards and scholarships.

Clare’s award-winning project investigated whether bricks made from Martian soil (regolith) could be used to block cosmic radiation. She discovered that these bricks could offer effective protection against cosmic radiation and constructed an optimum brick using Martian regolith simulant as a primary component. Her discovery supports the use of Martian regolith bricks to protect future inhabitants of Mars.

Clare travelled to Atlanta with Grace Ni Ifearnáin, a second-year student from Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí, Tralee. Grace won the Broadcom MASTERS International Award at the SciFest National Final 2021. The Broadcom MASTERS International runs alongside Regeneron ISEF and this year consisted of 22 students from 19 different countries.

The week began for Clare on Sunday with the student pin exchange event. There was great excitement as students from all over the world met and exchanged pins. Irish pins were very popular as Clare and Grace were the only two Irish students in Atlanta. The official opening took place on Monday evening and the judging of the projects on Tuesday. The exhibition hall was open to the public on Wednesday. At 7pm that evening finalists and visitors all headed to the Georgia Aquarium for a celebration dinner. The special awards were announced on Thursday evening and the category awards were presented on Friday morning. Throughout the week there were a number of Symposia sessions and activities organised for the students such as the ISEF 2022 Mini hackathon.

Participating in Regeneron ISEF is a life-changing experience. SciFest has been sending students to ISEF since 2012. In 2020 and 2021 the ISEF fair took place virtually and the 2022 fair was a hybrid event with around a third of the projects being judged online. We would like to take this opportunity thank The Society for Science and Regeneron for inspiring students from all over the world and giving them the opportunity to be fearless in pursuing their passions to come up with solutions to real world problems.

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