Kerry student wins Broadcom MASTERS International Award for her project on Japanese knotweed at SciFest!
~ Grace Ní Ifearnáin will represent Ireland in USA ~
A second year student at Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí, Tralee will represent Ireland in the United States after winning the SciFest Broadcom MASTERS International Award. Grace Ní Ifearnáin was named winner of this prestigious award for her innovative research investigating the effect of juglone on Japanese knotweed. The award will see her participating in the Broadcom MASTERS International programme in Atlanta, Georgia, in May.
Grace set out to see if she could identify a natural method for controlling Japanese knotweed. She established that the Black Walnut tree could have a herbicidal effect on surrounding plants and discovered that this was due to a natural organic compound called juglone. With support from MTU Tralee she showed that a solution of juglone from the tree had potential to be used as a natural control for Japanese knotweed.
The Broadcom MASTERS International programme provides a unique opportunity for secondary school junior students from around the world to participate in an exciting educational programme, including hands-on science and engineering activities, visits to museums and science centres and the opportunity to attend the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair. Places on the programme are highly coveted with just 25 delegates representing 22 countries, regions and territories invited. This is the fourth consecutive year a SciFest student has been invited to participate.
Speaking about her award win, Grace Ní Ifearnáin said: "I’m delighted to win the Broadcom MASTERS International Award. It’s a great honour to have my research acknowledged and a fantastic reward for all the hard work that went into my project. I really enjoyed working on my research for SciFest and would encourage others to get involved this year. I want to also thank my parents, sister and Grandad, teachers and SciFest for all they’ve done to encourage me; go raibh mile maith agaibh go léir. I can’t wait to represent Ireland at the Broadcom MASTERS International in May.”
Sheila Porter, SciFest Founder and CEO commented: “We are incredibly proud of Grace for this tremendous achievement. Her success is testament, not only to her ingenuity, commitment, and hard work, but to the high standard of Irish STEM education. We are delighted Grace will get the opportunity to represent Ireland in the United States. We wish her every success in the future.”
SciFest is the largest, most inclusive STEM fair programme for second level students in Ireland. The competition is free to enter and open to everyone across the island of Ireland, no matter their geographical location, background or circumstances. Now in its 17th year, SciFest is dedicated to encouraging and developing students’ interest in STEM in a fun and engaging way.