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A talented trio of young scientists from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) Lisburn campus have recently won the Best Northern Irish Project and Group 1st Place at the 2019 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. SERC was also named BT Best Overall School from Northern Ireland.

A total of 1,137 students, including 8 from South Eastern Regional College, from 237 schools across Ireland exhibited 550 projects at the 55th year of the  BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, held at the RDS Arena in Dublin, the event attracts the brightest young minds for the ultimate showcase of second level science and technology.

Izzy McConkey (18), Kerri-Melissa Burns (18) and Sarah Scannell (17) who are studying Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Applied Science were presented by Department of Education's permanent secretary, Derek Baker, with the BT Northern Ireland Best Project and Group 1st Place in  the Biological and Ecological Sciences category with their innovative project which focused on investigating the effect of natural food extracts on insulin secretion from pancreatic cells.

The trio have also been invited to take part in the BT young Scientist Business Bootcamp to be held at University College Dublin this Spring where they will experience the world of technology commercialisation and entrepreneurship.

Jordan Stafford (18) from SERC’s Downpatrick Campus was Highly Commended for his innovative project which focused on investigating how different fertilisers affect algae growth.

A further four students from SERC, Alex Boyd (17) and Oliver Kelsey (18) showcased their innovative project on investigating the antibacterial properties of woodland plants, and Jude Young (18) and Yasmin Jhan (19) showcased an investigation on the antibacterial effects of oils.

Colette Carson, SERC Head of School for the School of Applied Science, Sport and Access to Education said,

 “I am delighted that the students’ hard work and dedication has paid off. They have been a credit to themselves, their families and the College.   The judges are world renowned in their fields and we were particularly pleased to read comments from Professor Donal O’Shea, Consultant Endocrinologist in St Columcille’s Hospital and St Vincent’s University Hospital and Clinical Professor of Medicine in UCD, which said, ‘Congrats on a really well thought out and delivered science project. Outside support for in vitro work well sourced in excellent centres. It was clear that each in the group had a full understanding of the complex lab work, doses and concentration etc…Thorough, high quality science."

She added, “We would like to thank Prof Peter Flatt, Mr. Vishal Musale and Dr. Yasser Abdel-Wahab from the Diabetes Research Group at the Ulster University at Coleraine, for inviting the students into their laboratory to carry out the in vitro studies. In addition, Dr. Bettina Schock, Salam Baleed, Lois Lavery and Amal El Banna for also, inviting the students to the Centre of Experimental Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast.

Ken Webb, SERC Principal and Chief Executive said,

 “I must extend my congratulations to the students. They have put a great deal of effort into learning and perfecting their skills.

“To be named BT Best Overall School from Northern Ireland is testament to the high level of teaching and learning that goes on within the College.”

SERC provides a wide range of full and part time courses. Visit us at our Full-time Open Day on Wednesday 6 March from 2pm – 8pm at our Bangor, Downpatrick, Lisburn and Newtownards campuses. 

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