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Loreto's ISEF award winner with his teacher Mr Brian McKenna - View Full Size Image
Loreto's ISEF award winner with his teacher Mr Brian McKenna

A young scientist from Loreto College Coleraine, Specialist School, has won a top award at a prestigious international Science Fair.

Jack McCann, who is currently sitting his GCSEs at Loreto College, represented Ireland at the world-famous International Science and Engineering Fair, held in Los Angeles last week.  Having worked for several months under the guidance of Loreto’s Head of Technology, Mr Brian McKenna, in preparation for the event, Jack presented his research into the dendritic crystallization of potassium bromide, in the Chemistry section of the Fair.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, annually provides a forum for more than 1,500 high school students from over 50 countries to showcase their independent research. Each year, millions of students worldwide compete in local and school-sponsored science fairs; the winners of these events go on to participate in Intel ISEF-affiliated regional and state fairs from which the best win the opportunity to attend the Intel ISEF. The Intel ISEF unites these top young scientific minds, showcasing their talent on an international stage, enabling them to submit their work to judging by doctoral level scientists—and providing the opportunity to compete for nearly $4 million in prizes and scholarships. Society for Science & the Public partners with Intel—along with dozens of other corporate, academic, government and science-focused sponsors—who provide support and awards for the Intel ISEF each year. At the annual BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, held in Dublin in January, Jack was placed first in the Intermediate Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences group section.   In the Special Awards section, Jack won the Intel Student Travel Award, affording him the opportunity to represent Ireland the ISEF event.

In Los Angeles, Jack’s project attracted great interest and attention from the members of the judging panel.  He returned home with a Fourth Place Award, worth $500 – one of the first awards to have been won by Irish representatives in recent years.

Jack and his teachers, Mr Brian McKenna, Head of Technology, with whom he developed the project, and Mrs Jane Nugent of the Chemistry Department who travelled to the USA with Jack to assist him at the week-long Fair, were congratulated on this wonderful international achievement by Mr Brian Lenehan, Principal of Loreto College.  Mr Lenehan commented that it was clear that Jack had a bright future ahead of him in science and technology, as well as commending the dedication and the inspirational guidance provided by his teachers.