Saturday 25 November 2017

Scifest encourages students to get experimenting in 2016

By Amy Lewis

Students from FCJ Bunclody.
Students from FCJ Bunclody.
Judge John Norris and Rachel Cogley, Ellen Whelan and Lauren Walsh from St Mary's, New Ross.

Young scientists across the county are being urged to make their mark at SciFest 2016 - a national science competition for secondary school students.

The recently-launched competition invites students from all backgrounds to enter their innovative science projects before the deadline, March 11. According to organisers of SciFest, which was established in 2008, Wexford has been at the 'forefront of participation' with 'numerous entries from different schools every year'.

'It is very well supported by Wexford,' said CEO of SciFest Sheila Porter.

Last year, 48 groups from five Wexford schools entered SciFest, with several of the students receiving major awards. Aimee Cuddihy and Rebecca Dempsey from FCJ Bunclody won the SEAI Award while Ellen Whelan, Rachel Cogley and Lauren Walsh from St Mary's New Ross went on to win the Intel Award for their project. Earlier this year, the Wexford People reported on the low level of participation by Wexford School's in the BT Young Scientist Competition. Only three out of the 550 teams involved were from Wexford, a figure that Wexford teachers attributed to the low success rate and heavy workload attributed to the competition. When asked why SciFest is receiving a greater response, Sheila said that it is down to its inclusive nature.

'Both competitions are great. I used to work with the BT Young Scientist but it is limited to a certain number of students,' she explained. 'The whole idea behind SciFest is that it is inclusive.'

Sixteen regional competitions will take place in various venues in the coming months, along with an array of school in-house science fairs.

'It is a new concept to have it in schools,' explained Sheila. 'It gives students confidence and an idea on what is involved in the regional competition.'

SciFest is a series of one day science fairs, funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland's (SFI) Discover programme, Intel and Boston Scientific. Winners of the regional fairs will go on to the national final. Entry forms are online and must be submitted before March 11.

Wexford People

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