18 November 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Alison McDonnell and Simone Clerkin, 5th year students from St Louis Secondary School, Monaghan competed among the top young scientific minds at SciFest 2016 and were awarded an Excellence in STEM award, for their project “The Healthy Alternatives to the High Calorific Ingredients in Food for Young Children”.

SciFest is an all-island STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) initiative which fosters active, collaborative and inquiry-based learning among second level students.

This year saw a record number of over 8,000 students exhibiting their projects in local and regional science fairs across the country.

Alison and Simone were two of the 58 students who went on to exhibit their 31 STEM projects at the national final held in the Marino Conference Centre in Dublin on Friday, 6th November.

The students created a nutritious, sugar-free cupcake recipe, highlighting ingredient substitution to tackle child obesity. Trial and error was vital in altering the recipe which included half the calories and increased vitamin levels. A bomb calorimeter quantified the calories. This was tested on foods with published calorific content. A blind survey compared the cupcakes, with children preferring the substituted cupcake.

SciFest is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland, Intel Ireland and Boston Scientific.

Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO, said: “The standard at SciFest is always extremely high and this year is no exception. All the students put in such a phenomenal amount of work and it is very difficult to pick a winner.

“The range of projects, and the creativity and innovation on display this year is really heartening and demonstrates that the students of today will be tomorrow’s leaders in the area of STEM. The aim of SciFest is to foster and develop a love of STEM, and to imbue every student with the skills of self-directed learning. In that regard, this year has…

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