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Lisdoonvarna Mary Immaculate School pupil wins SciFest GMIT competition

Maghnus Hartigan will present his project at Ireland’s largest science competition in Dublin in November

Author: 

Press Office

Date Article Written: 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Of the over 80 projects exhibited at SciFest@GMIT 2016, the top prize on the day went to Maghnus Hartigan from Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, for his project, Applying Real-Time Physiological Responses to a Virtual Classroom Environment.

Maghnus developed a computer mouse with heart rate and perspiration sensors, integrating an algorithm which uses the data from the sensors to deduce what is exciting or stressing the user, and then adapting the content accordingly. He tested the design, using students from his school in order to gauge the effectiveness of the design. “

As one of the 15 regional venues hosting a SciFest science fair, SciFest@GMIT saw more than 200 students from schools all over the region exhibit almost 80 projects at GMIT and put their knowledge of science to the test. Two other pupils from Mary Immaculate Secondary School also won an award at the event. Aoife Dowling and Chloe Geraghty from Lisdoonvarna won 'Best Maths Award'. They are both in second year in the school.

SciFest@GMIT co-ordinator and Science lecturer, Dr Cormac Quigley, said:   “As always, the projects entered by the students in SciFest are impressive, engaging and thought-provoking. Secondary school students from across the region are demonstrating their passion for science and research which is clearly evident from the huge amount of work that has gone into the entries this year.”

“SciFest aims to encourage students to develop an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths while prioritising inclusivity and inquiry-based learning. We are proud to support such a valuable programme.”

Commenting on the SciFest@GMIT final, Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO, said: “2015 was a hugely successful year for SciFest with a record number of students taking part. In total 7,200 students exhibited their projects in local science fairs across the country. This year we intend to build on that success and have another record year. SciFest gives students an excellent opportunity to develop their interest in STEM and inquiry-based approaches to learning, while developing their creative and problem-solving skills and learning to work in a team.”

SciFest 2016 will be the second year of the prestigious Boston Scientific Medical Devices Award, which is presented at each of the 16 regional science fairs; the overall winner of this award will receive the Boston Scientific Medical Devices Trophy at the national final in November.

About SciFest

SciFest is an all-inclusive, all-island science initiative which fosters active, collaborative and inquiry-based learning among second-level students. It involves second-level students showcasing science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) projects at a series of one day science fairs held locally in schools and regionally in the 14 Institutes of Technology, DCU and St. Mary’s College, Derry. SciFest is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland, Intel and Boston Scientific. The winners from each regional science fair go on to compete at a national final in November 2016.

For more information please go to the SciFest website: www.scifest.ie 

About Science Foundation Ireland

Science Foundation Ireland funds oriented basic and applied research in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) which promotes and assists the development and competitiveness of industry, enterprise and employment in Ireland. The Foundation also promotes and supports the study of, education in and engagement with, STEM and promotes an awareness and understanding of the value of STEM to society and in particular to the growth of the economy. For more information visit www.sfi.ie  

Dr Cormac Quigley, GMIT Science lecturer and SciFest@GMIT co-ordinator;  Barry Hayden, Science Foundation Irelan;, winner Maghnus Hartigan from Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare;  John Sims, Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna, and George Porter, Scifest CFO.

Dr Cormac Quigley, GMIT Science lecturer and SciFest@GMIT co-ordinator; Barry Hayden, Science Foundation Irelan;, winner Maghnus Hartigan from Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare; John Sims, Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna, and George Porter, Scifest CFO.

Dr Cormac Quigley, GMIT Science lecturer and SciFest@GMIT co-ordinator;  Barry Hayden, Science Foundation Irelan;, winner Maghnus Hartigan from Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare;  John Sims, Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna, and George Porter, Scifest CFO.Judges and GMIT academic staff involved in the SciFest@GMIT event, L to R:  George Porter, Scifest CFO, Marilla Keating, Dr Etain Kiely, Dr Debbie Corcoran, Dr John Healy, Trish O'Connell, Dr Sheila Faherty, Dr Louise Cannon, Dr Brian Ashall, Ms Una Quigley, Dr Philip White, Dr  Elanor Rainsford, Dr Cormac Quigley,  Seamus O'Donnell, Dr Lisa Ryan, Dr Frances Martin, Gareth Roe. Aoife Dowling and Chloe Geraghty, who won Best Maths Award at SciFest@GMIT, pictured with George Porter, SciFest.