BT Young Scientists winners have been friends since junior infants; Heroes' welcome in Cork

BT Young Scientists winners have been friends since junior infants; Heroes' welcome in Cork
The winners of the 56th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) were Alan O'Sullivan and Cormac Harris, both aged 16, fourth year students from Colaiste Choilm, Cork.

THE Cork winners of this year’s BT Young Scientist competition will receive a hero’s welcome when they return to their school in Ballincollig tomorrow morning.

Transition year students from Coláiste Choilm, Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan scooped the top prize at the event in Dublin on Friday.

Their project was entitled “a statistical investigation into the prevalence of gender stereotyping in five to seven- year-olds and the development of an initiative to combat gender bias”.

They won €7,500, along with the overall trophy.

Tomorrow morning, fellow students and staff planned a big welcome for them and their teacher, Karina Lyne.

Cormac said: “We are really looking forward to it.”

The pair have been friends since junior infants in Ovens National School.

The winners of the 56th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) were Cormac Harris being congratulated by a school friend Nicole Murphy and Alan O'Sullivan, both aged 16, fourth year students from Colaiste Choilm, Cork.
The winners of the 56th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) were Cormac Harris being congratulated by a school friend Nicole Murphy and Alan O'Sullivan, both aged 16, fourth year students from Colaiste Choilm, Cork.

Alan said they now hope to work together to develop their resource kit further, to allow more analysis of their results.

Cormac hit back at online criticism of the decision to award the top prize to their project, saying the only thing that is important is that the project has shone a light on gender bias.

The students conducted workshops with 376 children from a range of schools.

The children were given tasks, including choosing between gender-specific and gender-neutral toys; drawing and naming an engineer, and rating male and female competency at a number of gender-specific roles.

In one of the tasks, 96% of boys drew a male engineer while just over 50% of girls drew a female engineer.

The students are following in the footsteps of another Coláiste Choilm student, Simon Meehan, who won the top prize two years ago.

They said Simon had been very helpful to them.

This evening, the boys had a joint welcome-home party, with both sets of families and relatives, after returning from Dublin.

They are the 56th winners of the competition.

They now represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Santander, Spain, in September. They will also attend the 62nd annual London International Youth Science Forum later in the year.

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