Ceili Cowan, Kayleigh Bourke and Kenneth Conlon, three students from Coláiste Dún Iascaigh, Cahir received an Excellence in STEM Award at the SciFest@SFI Discover national final for their project investigating the level of awareness of the use of MSG in foods amongst consumers.
SciFest is an all-island science initiative which fosters active, collaborative and inquiry-based learning among second level students.
This year saw a record number of over 6,000 students exhibiting their projects in local and regional science fairs across the country. Ceili, Kayleigh and Kenneth were three of 29 students who went on to exhibit their 15 STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) projects at the national final held in the Marino Conference Centre in Dublin.
Being aware of some concerns about the safety of the food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG), Ceili, Kayleigh and Kenneth decided to carry out a survey to establish the level of public awareness of the issue in their community.
Finding that awareness levels were low, they decided to carry out an information campaign. They developed an information pack that they sent to other schools in the area.
Based on their experience Ceili, Kayleigh and Kenneth believe that their campaign could be included in the Home Economics syllabus.
Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO, said: “This year there was a very high standard of projects exhibited at SciFest. All projects exhibited show that when students engage with STEM outside the classroom, they bring their learning to a new level and produce amazing results. Participation in SciFest helps students to develop the skills sets essential for the next generation of creative problem solvers and entrepreneurs. The innovation and the creativity on display at the national final is a testament to the hard-work and dedication put in by the students and their teachers.
“I congratulate Ceili, Kayleigh and Kenneth as well as all the other students who made it to the final on their excellent achievements.”