SciFest@DkIT reveals the link between exercise and mental performance

Around 220 second level students from counties Louth, Meath, Cavan and Monaghan take science to the next level at SciFest@DkIT

220 second level students from counties Louth Meath, Cavan and Monaghan showcased their impressive scientific discoveries and explorations at SciFest@DkIT on Wednesday 9th May, part of a series of one-day science fairs that are taking place this year at Institutes of Technology across the country. Over 90 science projects were displayed at SciFest@DkIT with the students delving into a range of investigations - the results of which are bound to raise a few eyebrows.

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 and the University of Ulster.

Aisling Molloy from Our Lady's College in Greenhills, Drogheda, won the top prize, the Intel Best Project Award, for her project entitled 'To investigate the effects of exercise on mental performance. The project exhibited a very high standard of scientific investigative skills which really impressed the judges.

Other interesting investigations that were showcased at SciFest @ DkIT include:

Dylan McGarrity, Conor McGuinness and Eoghan Lafferty from Bush Post Primary School in Dundalk were the winners of the Abbot Best Runner-Up Project. They designed, constructed and packaged an innovative device which collects, filters and re-uses rainwater to wash a car windscreen. A product ready for Dragon's Den!

Aoife McMenamin and Emily Lait from St. Vincent's in Dundalk won the Discover Sensors Award for their use of sensors to monitor the effect of music on the quality of sleep. This is the 2nd year running that these students have won this award under the direction of their teacher, John White.

Daniel Farrelly from St. Chiarain Community School in Kells investigated which indigestion tablet neutralizes acid the quickest, for which he won the Pharmachemical Ireland Chemistry Award.

While the judges deliberated, the students and teachers were entertained and inspired at a presentation by Professor Cliona O' Farrelly from the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin, entitled 'Viruses that Invade and Evade; Biological Masterpieces'. This was followed by the Closing Ceremony and Prize-Giving, which were presided by the Minister of State for the New Era Project, Fergus O'Dowd, T.D.

Dr. Graham Love, Discover Science & Engineering Programme, Science Foundation Ireland said; "The increasing level of interest in science subjects at second level is very positive as this really is the path to a sustainable future. SciFest allows students to become actively engaged in a hands-on manner and seeing the projects here today highlights the exceptional talent and skills of our future generation."

DkIT SciFest co-ordinator Dr. Breda Brennan, said, "We are really delighted with this year's event. The enthusiasm that these young people display for their projects is really inspiring.

The standard and complexity of many of the projects is very impressive. It gives us great hope for the next generation of scientists and technologists!''

Sheila Porter, SciFest Project Manager, said, "SciFest is a fun and exciting way to encourage an interest in science at school level. I would like to thank all of our partners including Intel, Discover Science and Engineering, BT, Abbott Ireland, PharmaChemical Ireland, SEAI and all the Institutes of Technology. Without their support, none of this would be possible."

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