The bright ideas of Donegal students are generating a lot of interest at the 2017 BT Young Scientist Exhibition.

The BTYSE annual science competition in Dublin sees students from across Ireland present projects on their research into a wide variety of topics. Their creative investigations and solutions have been impressing the science world for decades.

This year sees 12 sets of groups and individual youngsters from Donegal setting up stalls in the RDS and showcasing their work in the hope of impressing the judges.

There are 21 students from Donegal at the event who are examining topics relating to maths, health, media and the environment.

This year’s contest is reaching new heights

Competition is heating up as the award ceremony is just one day away and the Young Scientist & Technologist(s) of the Year is revealed. The overall winner gets €5,000 and the chance to represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia. There are various other category awards up for grabs.

Magh Éne College, Bundoran, has the most amount of groups from Donegal at the exhibition – with four projects on display.

Other schools from Donegal include Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair, Coláiste Ailigh, Choláiste Cholmcille, Carndonagh Community School, Deele College and Gairm Scoil Chú Uladh.

Yvonne Higgins and TY students from Magh Éne College, Bundoran

Speaking to Donegal Woman from the event, Magh Ene Science teacher Ms Yvonne Higgins said she is immensely proud of her students’ work and the achievements of Magh Éne College in the science field.

Tara Dolan, Ms Yvonne Higgins and Chloe Kilkenny

“It’s a great achievement for the students to get to this stage of the competition. Less than a quarter of people who enter get here. From more than 2,000 entries only 550 projects are accepted.

“We’ve been entering the BT Young Scientist competition for the last 10 years, with 48 projects and 100 students representing the school in that time. This year we have seven girls and two boys and it’s great to see how many girls are showing an interest in science,” said Ms Higgins.

Two Magh Ene students have reported on a survey of parental attitudes in the North-West towards the HPV vaccine. Tara Dolan and Chloe Kilkenny’s analysis of the views of parents with daughters who had the vaccines has been gaining much attention.

Other projects from the school include A Case-study into Public Awareness of Microbeads in Personal Care and Household Products, An Investigation into the Effects of Trampling on Ground-dwelling Insects in a Sand Dune Ecosystem and An investigation into developing a more efficient method of drying woodchip for use in boilers.

Ms Higgins was awarded the BT Educator of Excellence in the Biological and Ecological category in 2016 for her work in mentoring students.

Ruth Murphy, Chief Legal Counsel for BT in Ireland presents the BT Biological and Ecological Educator of Excellence award to Yvonne Higgins from Magh Ene- Donegal.

Magh Éne College has an active science blog and the students are active in other science events throughout the year. The school welcomes guest speakers and researchers who promote science as a future study and career.

“All our first years are coming up tomorrow and we hope they’ll get some inspiration for when they have their turn to enter. This competition helps the students develop communication skills, group work skills, carrying out their own research and presenting results,” said Ms Higgins.

Ms Higgins’ students will go through three sets of judging stages, but they are confident after receiving positive comments so far.

Best of luck to all students at the exhibition.

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