Local scientists sweep the boards at annual SciFest

Garrett Buckley (Education Officer with the Longford /Westmeath Education and Training Board) and Mark Lyons, winner of the SciFests SFI Discover Best Project Award  with Dr Christy Duffy (Chief Executive of Longford /Westmeath Education and Training Board).
Though it was one of the smallest schools taking part, Lanesboro Community College made a big impact on last week’s SciFest in AIT, picking up four awards - including the SFI Discover Best Project Award.

Though it was one of the smallest schools taking part, Lanesboro Community College made a big impact on last week’s SciFest in AIT, picking up four awards - including the SFI Discover Best Project Award.

‘What features make programming games appealing?’ by Brian Lyons and Lorcan Donlon was a hit on the day, claiming third place in the Junior Technical Category and being highly commended in the Junior Life Sciences Individual Category. Their project also received a lot of interest from individuals in the gaming industry.

Fourth year students Caoimhe Glennon, Megan Banahan, and Eoin Farrell scooped second place in the Intermediate Life Sciences Group Category for their topical project; ‘Development of a risk model to determine the expansion and environmental impact of Asian Clams in the lower Lough Rea area.

A delighted Michael Lyons, Deputy Principal of Lanesboro CC, congratulated all his students on their successes, and pointed out that the students, parents, and teachers had undertaken an immense workload outside of school hours. He also emphasised that though not all of the projects received awards, they were all extremely impressive. He then highlighted the fact that a project on colour blindness and its impact on learning, carried out by a group of first year students, has been taken on board by the Longford/Westmeath Education and Training Board, to be rolled out across their eight schools!

Though each of the projects were well thought out and wonderfully presented, it was fourth year student Mark Lyons who stole the show, taking home the top prize with his project ‘The price of profit - a statistical analysis of the effects of the GMS charge’.

Looking into the GMS fee’s impact on patient health, Mark, who will take part in the national final in November, is extremely passionate about his project, and is looking forward to developing it as much as possible to ensure it reaches the public eye.

“It’s a big honour to be given that award by the judges,” Mark told the Leader, thanking his teachers, particularly Mr Lyons and Ms O’Brien for all their help throughout the process.

His third time taking part in the SciFest, Mark was ecstatic to take the top award, but he truthfully added, “This project isn’t about winning prizes or getting trophies, it’s about getting the story out there.”