independent

Monday 29 December 2014

Avondale CC a hotbed of innovation

Published 15/01/2014 | 05:44

Avondale Community College is leading the way in Wicklow when it comes to the promotion of technology to assist students with their studies.

No where was this more evident than at the 50th BT Young Scientist Competition where the Rathdrum school successfully entered 11 projects, the most from any school in Wicklow, across the areas of Biological and Ecological; Social and Behavioural Sciences; Technology; Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences. It also represented the fifth highest number of entries from any school in this year's competition.

Prior to the Young Scientist Competition, 23 Avondale Community College students visited the MSD manufacturing site in Rathdrum. As part of the site visit, the students presented their projects to a packed room of Rathdrum employees as a practice session in preparation for the main event which is taking place in the RDS.

Each project team was assigned an individual MSD mentor and the focus was to create a competition atmosphere whereby they examined the detail of the project and asked structured questions to test the students' understanding of their project.

The projects included topics on diabetes; cervical cancer awareness in teenage girls; lung capacity; environmental effects of slurry applications; needle necrosis disease in Christmas trees; seed germination; poultry egg gender determination; the birthday paradox; mole identification skills; brainwave activity and bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) sampling improvements.

MSD Rathdrum employee and previous Young Scientist runner-up, Darren O'Beirne, presented back to the group on behalf of the site. The general feedback was that the range and quality of the projects was very impressive.

School principal Rosaleen O'Neill said: 'Our students surpassed all expectation this year when we successfully managed to push 11 projects over the line for the 50th Anniversary of the BT Young Scientist Competition. The culture of self-directed learning, innovation and entrepreneurship is alive and well in Avondale Community College.

John Byrne, Engineering Lead at the MSD site co-ordinated the event thanked everyone for making it a great success.

'The Young Scientist competition is a very worthwhile endeavour, it has been the starting point of many careers in Science and Engineering, including a number of MSD Rathdrum colleagues who have previously participated in the competition.'

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