Social advocacy project wins TechSpacer of the year

Thirty awards presented at ESB Creative Tech Fest



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2 November 2018 | 0

A 17-year-old student from Cork has been named ESB TechSpacer of the Year at the ESB Creative Tech Fest. Alicia O’Sullivan’s digital creativity project I Care, relfecting her passion for social advocacy, was selected from more than 300 projects submitted for this year’s awards, which celebrate the creations, inventions and inspirations of young people across the country in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) and digital creativity.

O’Sullivan received a cheque for €500 to invest in her project as well as a year-long mentorship programme from ESB. More than 20 awards were presented. Don Rogers of NEWKD, Castleisland, Co Kerry, was named ESB TechSpace educator of the year.

ESB Creative Tech Fest is the national showcase of the TechSpace creative education network managed by Camara Education Ireland. Over 300 young people aged between 10 and 18 from more than 70 local youth clubs and groups were recognised for their project work, and had the opportunity to engage in in workshops, talks and interactive exhibitions.

Ciara Judge, named by Time Magazine in 2014 as one of the 25 most influential teens worldwide, was the key speaker at the event. Judge inspired the young audience with her story, charting her short journey from winning the BT Young Scientist, the European Union Contest for Young Scientists and the Google Global Science Fair to becoming co-director of her first company, Germinaid Innovations, and her recent second start-up PurchaseMate, while studying at MIT, Boston.

Speaking at the event, Judge said: “I’m very excited to be speaking at this year’s ESB Creative Tech Fest because I believe that technology really is a game changer in creating a better world, and nobody understands that more than the youth of today.”

The Science Foundation Ireland-funded programme NYCI TechSpace STEM in Youth Work Maker Project – which has trained over 320 educators over the last two years – was highlighted at ESB Creative Tech Fest through youth exhibits and STEM workshops including a life-size hologram, large-scale conductive circus tight wire that plays music, a Finnish/Irish makerspace and a paper circuitry workshop by artist Maeve Clancy.

Two ESB VR experiences allowed attendees to connect their STEM workshops with the real life challenges of fixing subsea cables and repairing cables following faults on the electricity infrastructure.

Margie McCarthy, interim director of science and society at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is committed to making science, technology, engineering and maths accessible and engaging to the young people of Ireland. It is imperative that we demonstrate to them the diverse and exciting directions that a science-related career can take, and this can be achieved by involving them in hands-on initiatives which build their interest and confidence in STEM. For that reason we are delighted to support the STEM in youth work project, and would like to congratulate every participant for their brilliant achievements.”

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