GaelTalk – virtual reality immersive Irish Language learning experience – wins SciFest@DCU 2022

Of the 70 projects exhibited at SciFest@DCU on 6th May 2022, the top prize on the day, the Best Project Award, went to fourth year students Aaron Dignam, Senan Byrne, Ciarán Leddy from St Joseph’s Secondary School Rush for their project “GaelTalk – a virtual reality immersive Irish Language learning experience that can promote the practice of the Irish language”. Congratulations to the three students and their teacher Daryl Dunne. Winning this award qualifies them to compete at the SciFest 2022 National Final which will take place in Dublin in November. The top award winner/s at the National Final will represent Ireland and SciFest at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2023 in Dallas, Texas.

The SciFest@DCU Runner-up Project Award went to second year student Abigail L’Estrange from St Marys Secondary School Killester for her project “Can You Build a Battery from Copper, Acid and Zinc”. Congratulations to Abigail and her teacher Elaine Durkin.

Commenting on the calibre of this year’s entries, Dr Eilish McLoughlin, co-ordinator of SciFest@DCU, said,

We were delighted to be able to host students from 18 second level schools to present their SciFest projects in the Faculty of Science and Health at DCU. The judges were impressed by the student’s knowledge and understanding across a wide range of STEM topics. SciFest is a competition that aims to encourage students to develop an interest in STEM, while prioritising inclusivity and inquiry-based learning, and it is a competition that DCU are very proud to support”.

Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO and founder, added,

“SciFest@DCU is one of 16 SciFest fairs taking place in colleges around the country. We are very grateful to the colleges for their support and to their academic staff who give so freely of their time and expertise to judge the students’ projects. We received a tremendous number of entries again this year and the standard was as high as we’ve come to expect from SciFest participants. At SciFest, our goal is to encourage a love for STEM subjects from an early age, so it is really heartening to receive so many high-quality entries”.

SciFest is Ireland’s largest STEM fair programme for second-level students. SciFest’s mission is to ensure every second-level student has an opportunity to develop critical STEM skillsets through participation in a STEM fair, irrespective of their ability, background, gender or circumstance. SciFest operates across the whole island of Ireland and throughout the entire school year and, being locally and regionally based and free to enter, it is highly inclusive and accessible.

Eleven other projects were selected by a panel of judges as regional award winners at SciFest@DCU 2022 and all were presented with Dublin Crystal Trophies.

  • Boston Scientific Medical Devices Award: Amber McCleane, Presentation Secondary School Wexford, The therapy Glove. Teacher: Thomas Stafford.
  • Intel Technology Award: Agnes Martin, St Josephs College Lucan, Recycle the Mask, Save our Environment. Teacher: Helena Lynn.
  • Institute of Physics Award: Joe Molloy, Gonzaga College, Coding a simulation of a predator and prey. Teacher: Stephen McGroggan
  • Business Excellence Institute Award: Brian Connolly, Clongowes Wood College, Which renewable energy proves the most efficient? Teacher: Yvonne Nolan
  • Smurfit Kappa Sustainability Award: Evan Archer, St Joseph’s Secondary School Rush, An investigation into some growing medium alternatives. Teacher: Chris O’Connell.
  • Vermilion Energy Innovation AwardMony Aramalla, St Mary’s Secondary School Energy at our Fingertips – Pen Pressure Electrical Energy Harvesting. Teacher: Eilish Coleman.
  • Fenergo Communications Award: Monica Keogh, Dominican College Dublin, An Investigation into the Impact of FIRST LEGO League Challenge on the Development of Core STEM Competences. Teacher: Mr Seán Costello.       
  • Accenture Maths in Sciences Award: Yicheng Chen (Mike), Clongowes Wood College Mathematical Modelling of Major Selection and Course Choice in University. Teacher: Yvonne Nolan.
  • Regeneron Life Sciences Award: Niall Rudden, St Joseph’s Secondary School, An Investigation into The Acute Effects of Post-Activation Performance Enhancement In Male And Female Athletes. Teacher: Daryl Dunne.
  • SciFest Chemistry Award: Caoimhe Daffy, St Joseph’s College, The HARM of our pHARMaceutical products. Teacher: Helena Lynn.
  • ISTA Award (Best project in Junior category): Joely Kennedy, Isobel Davis, St Joseph’s Secondary School, Technological Doping: Does the type of shoes you wear effect your running time and technique? Teacher: Chloe Ryan.

In addition, the DCU recognised seven other projects as category award winners and these were each presented with DCU hoodies kindly sponsored by Londis at DCU.

  • DCU Junior Life Sciences Award: Dibyashree Mistree, Annalise McNinch, Rockford Manor Secondary School, Does hearing information through someone wearing a face mask affect information processing in students in post-primary education ?Teacher: Kelly Ryan.
  • DCU Junior Physical Sciences Award: Alan Murphy, Liam Hamill, Pruthvi Katti, Árdscoil Rís, Apple Oxidation. Teacher: Anne Doyle.
  • DCU Junior Technology Award: Emma Kelly, St Marys Secondary School, Can you create a hydraulic system using syringes, Teacher: Elaine Durkin.
  • DCU Best Intermediate Award: Patrick Kelleher, Kaleb Fagan, Jamie Williams, Árdscoil Rís, Investigating the Speed of Sound in the Irish Climate, Teacher: Anne Doyle.
  • DCU Best Individual Award: Kate Roche, Presentation Secondary School, How can silage be perfected to the ideal PH? Teacher: Thomas Stafford.
  • DCU Best Group Award: Leah Mann, Ava Byrne, The Donahies Community School, How material affect the melting of ice. Teacher: Graham Conway