Student used €1,000 prize money to save baby Katya's life
President Michael D Higgins and Adi Roche praised the "inspirational humanitarianism" of three students at a special reception in Áras an Uachtaráin yesterday.
Ciara Judge, Sophie Healy-Thow and Emer Hickey won a global science research competition at the GoogleScience Fair in San Francisco last year.
Ciara Judge donated €1,000 of her prize money to Adi Roche's Chernobyl Children International, helping to save the life of a 14-month-old infant in vital need of cardiac surgery.
"An act of kindness like this restores your faith in humanity," Ms Roche told the Irish Independent.
"It is reassuring to know the future of this country is in such safe hands. Ciara's donation saved the life of baby Katya. I was in Eastern Ukraine when Katya underwent surgery and saw the impact it had on her family's life."
Ciara has subsequently received a picture of baby Katya.
"It was extremely overwhelming to get the picture," she said. "It made the donation tangible."
The 17-year-old girls were listed as 'Time' magazine's "most influential teenagers" in 2014.