BT Young Scientist awards for Scoil Pól students

The senior group project was entitled ‘Are you SAD or have you S.A.D?’. The Social Pól students involved in this project were Daniel Gammell, Aisling Daly and Shane Shinnors, who are pictured here with Ms. Aisling O’Connor

Scoil Pól students have done exceptionally well in this years’ BT Young Scientist event. This was the schools’ first year entering the competition, and to have simply qualified was a huge achievement, with over 2,700 entries received and only 550 projects being shortlisted for the final stage.
Ms O’Connor, Ms. Kelly and Ms. Garvey worked tirelessly with their groups since September and were up against tough competition with 219 schools from 29 counties competing.
The senior group project was entitled ‘Are you SAD or have you S.A.D?’ The students involved in this project were Daniel Gammell, Aisling Daly and Shane Shinnors who have been investigating the effect that various lux values have on people’s mood. Seasonal affective disorder is where the seasons affect the mood of the person. Studies have shown that when it comes to the long, darker days the mood of the person declines. This has been proven by the group and they have further developed it, designing their own seasonal affective disorder lamp which will combat the condition. They have it linked to an app ‘Sonas Sona’ so that the user can access the lamp through a smartphone. They were extremely excited by this project as it is very topical and new to many people.

Two awards
The groups hard work was justly rewarded as they came home with not one, but two awards being accorded the ‘Irish Research Council accolade’. This award is given to projects that best combines two or more branches of science. Following on from this award, they also placed first in the Senior Social and Behavioural Sciences category. This category is hugely popular and massively competitive. The group’s mentor, Ms Aisling O’Connor, said, “We are thrilled to have won two awards at this year’s exhibition. The group put their heart and soul into the project and it was great to see this hard work recognised.”
A special word of thanks from the team to the Scoil Pól woodwork department who assisted in developing the lamp.

Highly commended
Sarah Blade and Olivia Donohue also received highly commended for their project in the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences category. This project focused on which energy drink is best for the rehydration of athletes and involved testing the electrolyte levels in different energy drinks to find out which is the best for rehydration and endurance of athletes. This entails obtaining various energy drinks to put through the gruelling testing process. Athletes found that orange juice was the best to replenish the electrolytes.
Olivia and Sarah said, “We are both active and energy drinks have become a huge part of sport in recent years so that’s what sparked our interest.” The girls, and their mentor, Ms Jenny Kelly, are very proud to have been highly commended for their work.

The effects of gaming
The third group, Jo Jo Fitzgerald, Conor O’ Regan and Cillian O’Riordan, under the guidance of Ms Grace Garvey, represented Scoil Pól with their project investigation into the effects of gaming among 12-18 year olds.
This project explored the positive and negative effects of gaming among 12-18 year olds. The boys used a qualitative approach to their research by examining the relationship between teenagers and gaming using the opinions of students, parents and teachers through questionnaires. The boys said, “Gaming is huge part of teenagers lives so we felt it is an area that needed investigation. We’re hoping that through this project we can highlight some of the effects and get people to reflect on their own gaming use.”
All teams would like to thank their teachers for assisting them with their projects and also a special thanks to Sean O’Donnell who recorded their videos for the online event.