Irish student achieves global success at the international science fair!

SciFest 2023 winner Jack Shannon wins two major awards. Clongowes Wood College student receives First Place in the Environmental Engineering category at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles, California ~

SciFest national champion, Jack Shannon from Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare represented Ireland at Regeneron ISEF 2024 in Los Angeles, California in May, coming away with two top awards. Jack was placed First in the ‘Environmental Engineering’ category and also won the prestigious EUCYS award which earned him an all-expenses paid trip to compete in the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) in Poland in September.

Regeneron ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, involving 1,700 students from over 67 countries and territories competing for a prize fund totalling $9 million.

Jack secured his place at the international competition when he was named SciFest STEM Champion 2023 at the SciFest 2023 National Final last November. He claimed first prize for his project ‘Ireland’s Carbon Sinks – Remote Sensing for Monitoring Peatland Restoration’. Jack’s teacher, Yvonne Nolan, was presented with the SciFest Teacher of Excellence Award at the National Final in recognition of her commitment to STEM education and student support. As Jack’s mentor she travelled with him to Los Angeles.

Jack’s study utilised remote sensing techniques for monitoring peatland restoration in Ireland. Two distinct peatland sites, Clara bog and Keelbanada bog, were investigated to assess the effectiveness of multispectral, LiDAR, SAR, and InSAR analyses in tracking restoration progress and degradation. These methodologies supply regular and precise data on restoration progress and degradation areas, enhancing restoration planning and management.

His project underscores the potential of remote sensing techniques for monitoring peatland restoration or degradation at multiple scales, contributing to Ireland’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework by facilitating comprehensive assessments of progress towards restoration and carbon sequestration targets.

Speaking about attending ISEF, Jack Shannon said: “I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to attend and participate in Regeneron ISEF in Los Angeles, California. This was a great opportunity to showcase my skills and creativity on a global stage and I am over the moon to have won two awards. Having worked so hard on my project, I’m delighted to have been able to meet with other students and see their projects. I’m so thankful to my family, friends, teachers and everyone at SciFest, who have supported me on this journey.

Sheila Porter, SciFest Founder and CEO commented: “We are all very proud of Jack on his achievement in winning two top awards. Participating in Regeneron ISEF is a wonderful opportunity and I know Jack has really enjoyed the experience. SciFest is all about encouraging a love of science, technology, engineering and maths among young people. Jack has developed a truly innovative project and we are delighted that he has had the opportunity to bring it to an international audience. We wish him every success for the future.”

Supported by Intel Ireland, Boston Scientific and EirGrid, SciFest is the largest, most inclusive all-island STEM fair programme for second-level students in Ireland. SciFest is free to enter and open to everyone across the island of Ireland, no matter their background or circumstances. The most important thing for SciFest is the participation of students and encouraging their interest in STEM in a fun and engaging way.


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