Tomorrow (Friday) more than 400 secondary school students from across the Midlands will showcase their skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths at SciFest@Athlone Institute of Technology.
The event, which is Ireland’s largest regional SciFest fair, will be opened by RTÉ’s north east correspondent, Sinead Hussey.
Known for putting the ‘STEM' subjects into action, SciFest gives students of all abilities and backgrounds the opportunity to develop their critical thinking, problem solving, research and presentation skills.
This year, judges will assess more than 194 science projects at junior, intermediate, and senior level from 24 secondary schools.
As in previous years, participating students will present on a wide array of topics, including the virtuosity of veganism and the effect of carbon dioxide on our diets, through to a super solution for superbugs and how colour can affect our learning.
"As always, the projects entered by the participating students are impressive, engaging and thought-provoking. Their passion for science, technology, engineering and maths is demonstrable by the calibre of research undertaken," said Dr Noreen Morris, Athlone IT's SciFest coordinator.
"As the sole higher education provider in the Midlands, Athlone Institute of Technology plays a pivotal role in the development of the region and continuing to supply industry with a talent pipeline of suitably qualified, work-ready graduates.
"SciFest, and school outreach activities like it, play a hugely important role in helping cultivate the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians."
Commenting ahead of the event, Sheila Porter, SciFest Founder and CEO, said: "Since SciFest’s inception in 2008, more than 65,000 students have participated in the programme nationally and 2019 will be another stellar year for projects in science, technology, engineering and maths.
"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."
Students from Athlone Community College were awarded an ‘Excellence in STEM’ award for their investigation into Irish air quality of air at last year’s SciFest National Final.
Juliette McGrane, Laoise O’Brien and Rebecca Campion tested the belief that the quality of air deteriorates as it travels across Ireland from the south-west to the northeast due to Ireland’s southwesterly prevailing winds.
The young scientists discovered that there was an increase in nitrogen tolerant lichen and a decrease in nitrogen sensitive lichen as they moved north-west across the country.
They concluded that while country air found in Ireland is not heavily polluted, the air quality does deteriorate as it crosses the country.
SciFest is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland, Intel, Boston Scientific and Specsavers.
Visit www.scifest.ie for further information.