Wednesday, January 25, 2023

President Michael D Higgins, Sabina Higgins and Shay Walsh, Managing Director BT Ireland meet Sean Allen from Roscommon Community College and his project ‘The long term effects of a more sustainable method of keeping nutrients in the soil as an alternative to an artificially made granule’ at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2023 in the RDS Dublin. Pic. Fennell Photography

A fifth year student at Roscommon Community College recently celebrated a major win at this year’s BT Young Scientists & Technology Exhibition held at Dublin’s RDS.

Sean Allen took home first prize in the senior individual section of the Biological & Ecological category. Sean’s project examined the long-term effects of a more sustainable method of keeping nutrients in the soil as an alternative to an artificially made granule.

His winning project also sparked the interest of President Michael D. Higgins during his visit to the exhibition because of its relevance to the current ecological challenges, such as climate change and the loss of biodiversity.

Séan described his achievement as a “surreal experience” and extended his thanks to the teaching staff at Roscommon Community College and for the support he received from the competing teams at the school. “They were as delighted and excited as I was, it was a win for us all,” he said.

The 5th Year student received a hero’s welcome at the school on Monday and was eagerly greeted by his fellow students who gave him a rapturous applause for his outstanding success.  When addressing his year group following his success, he advised them “to set goals around things you enjoy and work hard to achieve them – it’s worth it!”.

During the week of the competition, Séan was invited to present his findings on RTE’s Ecolution Podcast for students who wish to make a difference in the fight against climate change.  He has also received a special invitation to take part in the “BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp”, due to be held March 2023 in University College Dublin (UCD).

Roscommon Community College said it was very proud of Séan’s achievement. “By excelling in his research, he attained one of the highest national awards, but more importantly, Séan has contributed to the betterment of humankind,” said Principal, Ms. Georgina Keena.

Other local schools performed well at the awards ceremony. In the Social & Behavioural Sciences category, Ronan Lyons from Lanesboro Community College was Highly Commended for his investigation into ‘Learning environments that LAST: An enquiry into student opinion on Light, Air quality, Space and Temperature in classrooms’. Ronan conducted an enquiry into student opinion on light, air quality, space, and temperature in classrooms in a bid to examine which learning environments were most beneficial.

A Display Award in the Social & Behavioural Sciences category was picked up by Aristide Selve from Coláiste Chiaráin in South Roscommon for ‘Music + Maths = a Perfect Pair’. Second Year Student, Aristide looked to see if there was a correlation between high scoring maths results and students who practise a musical instrument regularly.

The winners of the 59th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE)  were named on Friday evening as Shane O’Connor and Liam Carew, aged 19 and in sixth year in the Abbey School, Tipperary won with their project ‘Assessing the impact of second-level education on key aspects of adolescents’ life and development’.

The following additional information regarding Sean Allen’s success and the other participants from the school at this year’s BT Young Scientists was submitted by Roscommon Community College:

Having made the decision to enter the Young Scientist competition 2022, Sean kickstarted his project during the summer months in 2021. Alongside his teammate Dylan Treacy and four of his fellow classmates, he received “Highly Commended” for his project at this early stage.

At the regional finals of SciFest at the Atlantic Technological University (ATU), Séan received the “Overall Best Project Award” for the Galway region, where his classmates Mairéad Lohan and Tommy Morris were placed as Runner-Up in the “Best Project Award”. Both teams moved forward to the SciFest National Finals where Séan Allen’s project was awarded the “Irish Science Teachers Association (ISTA) National Award” while Mairéad Lohan and Tommy Morris’ project was awarded the “Social and Behaviour Science National Award”. Roscommon Community College was the only school in County Roscommon with two projects presenting at the National Final. There was immense jubilation when both teams brought home such prestigious National Awards.

Séan continued to work on his project over the summer of 2022 and qualified for BT Young Scientist Exhibition 2023 along with four other groups from Roscommon Community College. Team 1: Nathan Mac an Bhaird, Rian Kingi, and Jack Campbell (Technostress); Team 2: Shauna McDermott, Liam Naughton, and Conor Morris (Use of Bio-Fibre (Wool) in Agriculture and Horticulture), Team 3; Cian Escosio and Bailey Kelly (Radon Gas research), Team 4: Holly Thorpe and Erin Hayes (Graffiti research).

Séan’s project “The long-term effects of a more sustainable method of keeping nutrients in the soil as an alternative to an artificially made granules” came to fruition and was one of seven projects selected by President Micheal D. Higgins. Séan’s project sparked the interest of the President because of its relevance to the current ecological challenges, such as climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the need for this generation of young people, through science and technological innovation, to play a vital role in the creation of new solutions to the great challenges of this century.

During the week of the competition, Séan was invited to present his findings on RTE’s Ecolution Podcast for students who wish to make a difference in the fight against climate change. As students waiting in anticipation for results in various categories, there was immense delight and a rapturous applause in the arena when Séan’s project was announced as having won an honourable First Place in the “Senior Individual Biological and Ecological Category”.

Additionally, Séan has received a special invitation to take part in the “BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp”, due to be held March 2023 in University College Dublin (UCD).  Following expert feedback at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition from the judging panel, Séan has been advised to continue his research and bring this highly innovative and relevant project to the next level.

Upon returning to school after the recent awards ceremony, Séan was eagerly greeted by his fellow 5th years to a rapturous applause and heartfelt congratulations for his outstanding success. Commenting on this “surreal experience”, Séan extended his thanks for the unprecedented support he received from the competing teams from Roscommon Community College: “They were as delighted and excited as I was, it was a win for us all”. When addressing his year group following his success, Séan advised them “to set goals around things you enjoy and work hard to achieve them – it’s worth it!”.

Séan would like to extend his thanks to Ms Ceire O’Reilly, Ms Elizabeth Glancy, Ms Shauna O’Neill, Ms Niamh Conway, Dr Jude Lohan, Mr John Mooney, Ms Alison Kerrane, Mr Mak Hounat, Mr Conall Moore, Ms Joanne Cleary, Ms Claire Gibbons, Mr Joe Mannion, Ms Georgina Keena and most importantly his parents, Derek and Lisa, his sister Ciara, and extended family for making his dream possible.

Speaking directly to young scientists, the President said, “I have faith in your ability, our young Irish scientists, to locate your gifts, your brilliance, in a moral context, to be willing to work for the benefit of all humanity beyond any well-earned personal reward.”

We are so proud of Séan’s achievement, through his hard work, determination and dedication over the past two years. By excelling in his research, he attained one of the highest National Awards, but more importantly, Séan has contributed to the betterment of humankind. On behalf of the extended school community, Ms Georgina Keena, Principal, would like to congratulate all the students who represented Roscommon Community College in BT Young Scientist Exhibition 2023 with a wealth of imaginative talent, sheer determination and brilliance.

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