Talented trio wins BT Northern Ireland Best Project at the Young Scientist of the Year Exhibition

TALENTED TRIO RI Farm
SUCCESS: Talented trio of young scientists from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) Lisburn campus have recently won the Best Northern Irish Project at the 2019 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. Pictured from left, Department of Education’s permanent secretary Derek Baker, Izzy McConkey, 18, Kerri-Melissa Burns, 18, and Sarah Scannell, 17.

A talented trio of young scientists from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) Lisburn campus have recently won the Best Northern Irish Project and Group 1st Place at the 2019 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. SERC was also named BT Best Overall School from Northern Ireland.

A total of 1,137 students, including eight from South Eastern Regional College, from 237 schools across Ireland, exhibited 550 projects at the 55th year of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. Held at the RDS Arena in Dublin, the event attracts the brightest young minds for the ultimate showcase of second level science and technology.

AWARDS: Talented young scientists from South Eastern Regional College have recently been presented with prestigious awards at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition held in Dublin. Back from left, Michael Holmes, SERC lecturer in Biology, Jordan Stafford (Highly Commended), Alex Boyd, Oliver Kelsey, Jude Young, Yasmin Jhan, Susan Stokesberry (Biosciences lecturer, SERC). Front from left, Kerri-Melissa Burns, Izzy McConkey, Sarah Scannell (BT Northern Ireland Best Project and Group 1st Place Biological & Ecological Sciences).

Izzy McConkey, 18, Kerri-Melissa Burns, 18, and Sarah Scannell, 17, who are studying Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Applied Science were presented by Department of Education’s permanent secretary Derek Baker with the BT Northern Ireland Best Project and Group 1st Place in the Biological and Ecological Sciences category with their innovative project which focused on investigating the effect of natural food extracts on insulin secretion from pancreatic cells.

The trio have also been invited to take part in the BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp to be held at University College Dublin this Spring where they will experience the world of technology commercialisation and entrepreneurship.

Jordan Stafford, 18, from SERC’s Downpatrick Campus was Highly Commended for his innovative project which focused on in-vestigating how different fertilisers affect algae growth.

A further four students from SERC, Alex Boyd, 17, and Oliver Kelsey, 18, showcased their innovative project on investigating the antibacterial properties of woodland plants, and Jude Young, 18, and Yasmin Jhan, 19, showcased an investigation on the antibacterial effects of oils.

Colette Carson, SERC Head of School for the School of Applied Science, Sport and Access to Education, said: “I am delighted that the students’ hard work and dedication has paid off. They have been a credit to themselves, their families and the college.

“The judges are world renowned in their fields and we were particularly pleased to read comments from Professor Donal O’Shea, Consultant Endocrinologist in St Columcille’s Hospital and St Vincent’s University Hospital and Clinical Professor of Medicine in UCD, which said, ‘Congrats on a really well thought out and delivered science project. Outside support for in vitro work well sourced in excellent centres. It was clear that each in the group had a full understanding of the complex lab work, doses and concentration, etc…Thorough, high quality science’.”

She added, “We would like to thank the Diabetes Research Group at Ulster University at Coleraine, for inviting the students into their laboratory to

carry out the in vitro studies and the team at the Centre of Experimental Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast for inviting the students to the centre.”

SERC provides a wide range of full and part time courses and will host a Full-time Open Day on Wednesday, March 6, from 2pm-8pm at the Bangor, Downpatrick, Lisburn and Newtownards campuses.

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