Seven major second-level schools in Derry were represented at a specially-organised Science and Innovation event at the DuPont plant at Maydown recently.
More than 40 selected science students from Foyle & Londonderry College, Limavady Grammar School, Lumen Christi, St Columb’s, St Joseph’s Boys’, St Mary’s College and Thornhill College attended. The event was designed to further develop the students’ taste for science, to motivate them to continue studying the subject and encourage them to aspire to scientific careers.
Tom Bollaert, Plant Manager at DuPont Maydown introduced the students to DuPont, its work and the company’s four mega-trends of increasing food production, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, protecting lives and growing in emerging markets.
The students were then given a tour of the plant where they were split up into teams to work on experiments relevant to DuPont’s mega-trends, supervised by senior DuPont personnel. The students were also asked to make up posters based on the experiments and the related mega-trends. Book tokens for the best poster were awarded to each member of the combined Foyle & Londonderry College and Lumen Christi team.
Lunch followed at the Whitehorse Hotel after which Roger Siemionko, Vice President of Technology, DuPont Protection Technologies, spoke enthusiastically to the group about why they might choose a career in science. He emphasised that science will continue to be a critical component of our society.
Roger spoke about his own personal journey in the world of science from his student days up to his current position with DuPont. He also described how he saw his and science’s future in driving the commercialisation of ‘next generation’ materials to create sustainable solutions essential for a better, safer and healthier life for people everywhere and described some of DuPont’s contributions to this.
In conclusion he said that the world would continue to rely on science for answers on how humankind can exist well into the next millennium and told his audience that scientific ‘miracles’ are produced by people not different from most of them.
Tom Bollaert said: “We have had great feedback from the students who attended as well as from their schools. We hope that we succeeded in encouraging at least some of the students who attended to follow careers in science and – who knows? – maybe become DuPont scientists or engineers in the future.”