A significant project ‘hatched’ by an Inishowen student is among the finalists at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, currently underway in Dublin.
Jack McDermott, a 4th year student at Moville Community College, is one of 550 finalists showcasing at the prestigious exhibition, which got underway on Wednesday and runs to Saturday.
The 17-year-old is the only Inishowen student in the finals, held in the RDS and one of only 19 from Donegal. His participation is also a huge achievement for the school, which had never entered the competition before.
Jack’s project is featured in the Biological and Ecological category and investigates if the shape of an egg affects the hatch rate in chickens.
Speaking to the ‘Journal’ from Dublin, Jack revealed the idea stemmed from his long-held interest in poultry. He currently has an incubator at home in Moville and used his own chickens for the project, in order to track genetics.
He added how he was curious as to why there were differences between hatches and set about dividing the eggs into two groups - ‘regular-shaped’ eggs with no defects and irregular-shaped eggs with defects.
Jack said he hoped his findings - that regular-shaped eggs hatch better - would improve the hatch rate in chickens.
The winners of each category, as well as the overall winner, will be announced today, Friday.
While Jack is optimistic, he says he is “more than happy” to be chosen for the finals. He told how there were “some really great and interesting” projects on exhibition.
There were 2,270 projects entered for the competition this year and 550 were successful in reaching the finals.
He added he has received strong support from the school and a group of first-year students and teachers travelled to Dublin yesterday to support him.
Science teacher Ms. Rachel McGuinness accompanied Jack on his trip to Dublin.
She said everyone in the school was “very excited” about Jack’s participation in the exhibition.
“It’s absolutely brilliant. This is the first time the school has ever applied, so there’s a great buzz about it all,” she said.
“Jack’s project is very interesting and he came up with the idea himself. Looking at the bigger picture, his research findings could aid charities such as Bothar (who supply families with chickens) in ensuring they have a more successful hatch.”
Ms. McGuinness has been helping Jack with his project and said he had also been receiving strong encouragement from his own Science teacher, Ms Maura McFadden. Jack and Ms McGuinness remain in Dublin until Saturday, when the exhibition will open to the public.