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Largy College Student scoops top award at the Global Youth Science and Technology Bowl 2020 

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Congratulations to Ruth Madden from Clones who won the Gold Award for Physics and Engineering at a major International Science and Technology Competition which took place in Hong Kong on 1st August 2020.

Representing Largy College Clones, Scifest and Ireland, Ruth showcased her invention, “The Microplastic Filter - A small solution to a global problem”. Ruth’s globally unique filter system removes microplastic fibres and particles suspended in the waste water of domestic washing machines effectively preventing their entry into water courses and the wider environment.

The event, an international student science competition in the areas of biology, chemistry, physics and engineering, is a showcase of global youth scientific achievement and innovation, which aims to promote science and technology, providing a platform for global youth to develop their creativity and scientific mindsets, and facilitate the exchange of scientific ideas, interests and abilities among young scientists all over the world.

Ruth’s nomination to participate in the event in Hong Kong arose from her success in the 2019 Irish National finals of SciFest where she won the prestigious Technological Higher Education Association award and an excellence in STEM award presented by Science Foundation Ireland. Ruth’s also won the 2019 ASM Materials Education Foundation Award for her project. ASM International based in the Unites States, is the world’s largest association of materials engineers and scientists.

Her most recent success saw a professional review panel, composed of academia, judge the projects. Due to the restrictions arising from COVID-19, judging in Ruth’s category was conducted via Zoom Cloud meetings by five university professors, who’s areas of speciality included physics, biomedical, computing, electrical and electronic engineering. The interviews were broadcast live to allow public viewing and took the format of a 5 minute student presentation, followed by question and answer session with the professors. In addition, to assist the judges in their considerations, the professors had available to them, both a Project Abstract and thirty page Project Report which had been furnished last month by each competitor. Li Jianle, the Director of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (Innovation and Creativity) who coordinated the competition, said that the competition proved that the enthusiasm of the students is unhindered by the epidemic, and it is an empirical example of using technology to solve problems.

In total there were 122 teams nominated from around world representing 22 countries/regions including inter alia Hong Kong, Macau, South Africa, Jordan, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico, Qatar, Russia, Turkey and Ireland. Following an initial round of judging, 93 made it through to the Grand Final.

Following her win Ruth said "I'm delighted to have received the Gold Award in Physics and Engineering but the Award though, does not just recognise my efforts, but is an acknowledgement of the essential support and encouragement given and shown to me by, not only my family, but by the principal and staff of Largy College and in particular, Ms. Colette Smith, my science teacher, whose never ending enthusiasm and willingness to help was crucial to my success during the difficult academic environment which arose from COVID-19. It would be remiss of me not to also express my sincere thanks to Science Foundation Ireland and Scifest who, through their unbelievable support, afforded me this wonderful opportunity."

You can view Ruth’s video she had to make for the judges here.


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