St. Mary’s pupil Maeve is named ‘UK Young Scientist of the Year’

Maeve Stillman who has been named UK Young Scientist of the year
Maeve Stillman who has been named UK Young Scientist of the year

A pupil at Derry’s St. Mary’s College has been awarded the title of ‘GSK UK Young Scientist of the Year.’

Fifteen-years-old Maeve Stillman won the coveted accolade at The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers’ competition, for her project “Investigating the Effect of Activated Charcoal on the Absorptions of Medications.”

Maeve’s project focuses on how activated charcoal supplements affect the absorption of everyday or common medicines, such as paracetamol.

The talented teenager reached the UK finals having won a place at The Big Bang Fair (Northern Ireland).

Over 500 finalists were selected to show their ideas at The Big Bang Fair where 10 were then shortlisted to pitch Dragon’s Den-style to a panel of VIP judges which included Nikki Yates (senior vice president of European mid-sized markets for GSK), Dallas Campbell (The Gadget Show and Bang Goes The Theory TV presenter) and Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon (Co-founder of STEMettes).

The Big Bang competition is an annual contest designed to recognise and reward young people’s achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths, as well as helping them build skills and confidence in project-based work.

Maeve won £2,000 to continue her STEM journey.

Additionally, she will have the opportunity to complete work experience at companies including GSK and for the ‘Deadly Diseases’ stage show from the Big Bang Fair to go to her school to teach her classmates all about germs, microorganisms and the spread of bacteria.

Previous winners have gone on to enjoy a range of other achievements on the back of their successes, including winning international awards in China and the US and getting backing from businesses for their projects.

They have also taken part in conference presentations to industry professionals as well as appearing on the television and radio shows to talk about their projects.

Commenting after being awarded the title, Maeve said: “It feels so surreal to have won - it probably won’t sink in until tomorrow! This is my third year at The Big Bang Fair and every year it’s so exciting. I would definitely recommend other young people getting involved.

“I’m going to use the prize money and experiences that I’ve won to help further my future in STEM.”

Congratulating the winner, Hilary Leevers, Chief Executive of Engineering UK, which organises The Big Bang competition, said: “The judges have been blown away by the quality of entries from all the finalists – not only for their brilliant new ideas but for how eloquently they spoke about them to the crowds of people at The Big Bang Fair.

“Huge congratulations to Maeve whose innovative project has seen them crowned ‘GSK UK Young Scientist of the Year.’

“It certainly bodes well for the future that the scientists, engineers and inventors of tomorrow are already producing such astute and creative project work – congratulations to all those involved in bringing these ideas to The Fair.”

Nikki Yates, Senior Vice President of European Mid-Sized Markets for GSK, said: “Seeing the incredible quality of creative thinking and STEM understanding that inspired this year’s winning entries reiterates just how vital awards like this are.

“They give our future STEM innovators and leaders unique opportunities to develop and showcase their talents and to inspire thousands of other young people in the process. I’m excited to see what our winners will go on to achieve.”