Local students recently took part in the prestigious BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, which was held recently in Dublin.
Stephanie Robinson and Jonny Elder from South Eastern Regional College in Lisburn received second place in the Senior Group in the Biological and Ecological category for their project ‘Antifungal uses of oregano to stop the growth of mould on silage’.
In the biological and ecological category Beth Morrow and Eloise Nabi, also from the South Eastern Regional College, were highly commended for their project which investigated ecological stress reduction within the College.
Ken Webb, SERC Principal and Chief Executive said he was “absolutely delighted” about the success of the students.
“I would like to congratulate the students and science department for their success in the competition,” he added. “It is encouraging to see such passion for science amongst our young students.
“It’s very important to nurture students’ interest in STEM subjects to ensure that we have the necessary skills to move forward as a society. This competition does just that. We are so proud of our continued success at the Young Scientists Exhibition.
“The students have spent months working hard to complete and perfect their projects and it is an extraordinary achievement to win an award at such a high-profile competition. The students and staff should be extremely proud.”
A team from Fort Hill Integrated College also attended the exhibition, and have thanked the Development Committee at Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council for their support.
Two year 11 pupils, Jamie Martin and Ben Halligan, focussed their project on the use of hamsters to generate a renewable source of energy, and assessing whether or not that resulting energy created could be used to charge mobile phones.
Alderman Allan Ewart MBE, Chair of the Development Committee at Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council said: “It is a really encouraging sign for the economic future of the area and indeed that of Northern Ireland that there is such a high level of interest in STEM subjects in schools.
“We were delighted to be able to support the team from Fort Hill Integrated College as they represented the Council area at this prestigious science and technology showcase.”
Jamie and Ben said of the experience: “As well as being an amazing learning experience, taking part in the BT Young Scientist competition meant that we had to present and explain our ideas to judges and hundreds of other competition participants and visitors.
“That will definitely help with future coursework presentations and interviews. We are already looking forward to next year. Thanks to the Council for helping us to participate.”
Aside from the obvious benefits to the team involved, according to Science Teacher at Fort Hill Integrated College Stephen McCormick.
“There has been a huge amount of interest generated in Science within the College with other students approaching the science department with project ideas for the competition in 2019,” he concluded.
Department of Education, Permanent Secretary, Derek Baker said: “The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition provides a wonderful opportunity for young people to showcase their talents across a range of STEM subject areas while competing at the highest possible level.
“It allows participants to collaborate with their peers to demonstrate creativity, problem solving and team working skills, all key skills which are highly sought after by employers.
“I would therefore like to congratulate all the students from Northern Ireland who have taken part this year and to acknowledge the hard work and innovation that they have all put into their projects.
“It is also important that I acknowledge the support of the teachers and schools in helping the students bring their projects to life.
“Everyone involved should be very proud of their endeavours and of the very high standard of projects on view here today.”
Peter Morris, Head of Service Delivery NI Networks at BT said: “This year’s Exhibition has exceeded all expectations showcasing projects and innovations which are now, more than ever, pivotal for the future of our society.
“Our theme for this year’s exhibition is ‘It Starts Here’ – but this is only the beginning and it is vitally important that every student’s voyage of discovery does not end here.
“I want to congratulate every student that entered.”