Croom student is Young Scientist of The Year

Home is the Hero! Young Scientist of the Year Seán O’Sullivan pictured with his father Gerard, who is also the Principal of the school, at a special homecoming event in Coláiste Chiaráin, Croom on Monday last. The event acknowledged Seán’s outstanding achievement and also celebrated Coláiste Chiaráin’s award as Best School in the Republic of Ireland at this year’s BT Young Scientist Exhibition. Photo, Brian Arthur

There were scenes of unconfined joy on Monday last as Coláiste Chiaráin in Croom welcomed home student Seán O’Sullivan as the winner of the Young Scientist of the Year award, the result of which was announced at the 60th BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in Dublin, writes John Barrett.
The outstanding victory, one of four accolades for the students at the Co. Limerick school, is made even sweeter in that Seán is a son of Coláiste Chiaráin Principal Gerard O’Sullivan. Elated with his son’s achievement, proud dad Gerard said, “I am exceptionally proud as a principal and overwhelmed as a dad. I have lived this at school and at home for many months, I am delighted and absolutely over the moon. It is such a special time for our family, my wife Tara, daughter Sarah and other son Tomás.” The O’Sullivans live in Pallaskenry and Sarah is a fourth-year student at Coláiste Chiaráin, while Tomás is due to enrol there also on completion of his primary education at Scoil Mhuire National School.

A new approach to Artificial Intelligence
The winning entry ‘VerifyMe: A new approach to authorship attribution in the post-ChatGPT era’ explores the development of a new artificial intelligence (AI) detection system that uses past examples of an author’s writing to detect if AI was used to generate a piece of work.
Seán has been awarded €7,500 and will go on to represent Ireland at the EU Contest for Young Scient-ists which will take place later this year in the European City of Science 2024 – Katowice, Poland.
Raising the trophy on stage after being announced as the winner, Seán said he was delighted with the success. “It feels unreal. I would never have imagined being here, there were so many incredible other projects. Dreams can come true,” he commented.

Judges hugely impressed
The contest judges paid tribute to the Coláiste Chiaráin student’s hard work. “The judges were hugely impressed by Seán’s innovative approach to addressing a problem that has only recently emerged and his programming skills in architecting a complex software solution,” said Leonard Hobbs, Chair of the Technology Group Judging Panel, while the Minister for Education Norma Foley also con-gratulated Seán O’Sullivan. “His win is testament to his hard work and dedication and the unwavering support of his family, teachers and school,” she said.

A testament to brilliance
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Gerald Mitchell joined in offering congratulations, as did Dr Pat Daly, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council. Mayor Mitchell remarked, “In a world driven by technological advance-ments, Seán’s work stands as a testament to the brilliance that emerges when education and innovation combine. The people of Limerick are immensely proud of his achievement and foresee a bright future ahead for him.”
Seán’s school, Coláiste Chiaráin, is a Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board Community College. ETB Chief Exec-utive, George O’Callaghan, congratulated Seán on his success: “I would like to commend Seán and the entire Coláiste Chiaráin school community on this outstanding achievement. It’s wonderful to see Seán’s dedication to work and commitment to innovation in such a new technology area being recognised with this prestigious award. It’s a special moment too, not just for the school, his teachers, his mentor and his fellow students, but also for his dad, Principal Gerard O’Sullivan. I extend my congratulations to Gerard, along with Seán’s mum Tara and his siblings Tom and Sarah.”
(Further coverage inside this week)