Schull student scoops top invention award at BT Young Scientist

Posted on: 6th February, 2018

Category: Headlines

Contributor: West Cork People

Above: Gavin Denn, VP Operations & General Counsel at Invention Investment Ireland presents the Invention Investment Ireland to Fionn Ferreira, Schull Community College. Photo Chris Bellew / Fennell Photography

Young Scientists from Cork Education and Training Boards’ (CETB) Schull Community College left the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition at the RDS last month with an impressive haul of five awards. The college’s fortunes in this prestigious science competition have gone from strength to strength, with several significant award winners in recent years. This year nine students represented the school exhibiting four projects across two categories. With over 2,000 national projects submitted and only 550 chosen to participate in the Exhibition, getting an opportunity to exhibit their work in the first place was no mean feat and staff and students at the Mizen school are immensely proud of their achievements.

Fifth year Schull CC student Fionn Ferreira, from Ballydehob, swept the boards with three awards. Fionn, also a category winner in 2017, won first prize in the Senior Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences category with his project, which addressed the very topical issue of microplastics in our waters. Fionn explored how micro plastics could be removed from water using ferrofluids and also measured his findings with a homemade spectrometer. Fionn’s unique and innovative approach to this disturbing environmental issue was further recognised when he was presented with the Intellectual Ventures Insightful Invention Award for effectively having the best invention at the Exhibition.

Finally, Fionn was presented with one of the eight Main Awards at the exhibition, the Intel Award. This award is presented to a student for outstanding work in the Technology category and the prize consists of an all expenses trip to the USA where Fionn will represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in May of this year.

Fionn’s classmates, Áine Levis, Joe Arundel McSweeney and Niamh Connolly were Highly Commended in the Social and Behavioral category for their project, which investigated the emotional and physical difficulties Irish teenagers face due to a lack of sexual education. The group were also presented with a special award, the HEAnet Award for the most practical and innovative use of network technology in performing background research for the project and/or collaborating with other team members, teachers etc..

Schull Community College BTYSE mentor and teacher Ms. Lara Kelly was presented with the BT Educator of Excellence Award for her dedication and expertise in guiding students of the college in the Social and Behavioural Sciences category in particular.

Two other Schull groups displayed their work at the RDS, Transition Years David Walsh and Liadh Pyburn examined the issue of gender and Aoife Nash, Tarah Fleming and Hollie Collins explored the effect of Brexit on students’ educational choices.

The fantastic achievement of this core group of students is testament to the supportive network of teachers, fellow students and parents, along with having an emphasis on all STEM subjects as part of the broad curriculum of subjects available to students at Schull Community College.

For more information on Schull Community College, which operates under the Cork Education and Training Board (CETB), or to enquire about enrolling for the upcoming academic year check out, or contact the school on 028-28315 or via e-mail at  To stay updated on the journey of the students of Schull Community College you can follow them on Facebook\schullcommunitycollege or on Twitter @SchullCollege.

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