Science week, NCRC annual research symposium and progression to second year

Science week this year was in the middle of November and UL’s Research Week was the first week of December. I have been quite busy so I am only getting to finish the November/December blog now.

Science Week 2019

As part of science week 2019 I spoke to a local sixth class about 3D printing and also got involved with the SOPHia project (indirectly).

I spoke to the primary school class about 3D printing in general. I had prepared a short presentation (mainly cartoons, images and time-lapses) with the intention of talking for 10 minutes and then having a 10 minute class discussion. I was pleasantly surprised that the class grasped the concept of 3D printing very quickly and were blown away by the models I brought to pass around. The students had plenty of intelligent questions and the class discussion went on for 40 minutes.

The SOPHia project student science competition final also took place during science week. A school group that I had visited in September had been shortlisted for the SOPHia project final in UL. This involved doing a physics project and presenting the project in a poster which was then judged by researchers from the UL physics department. The girls did a project on the uptake of physics among students in their school and highlighted that less girls were taking physics despite girls being as interested in the subject as boys. They also included my visit in their poster as I was brought in as a female role model to promote physics. I was genuinely delighted that the girls ended up winning as they had put so much time and effort into this project!

NCRC Annual Research Symposium 2019

In December I attended the NCRC Annual Research Symposium. The NCRC (National Children’s Research Centre, based in Crumlin) is the organisation that part-funding my research. I did a poster presentation which was my first time presenting my PhD research. The posters were judged by a researcher and a lay person at the same time so it had to have a balance between technical and non-technical language to convey the main objective and goals of the project. There were prizes at the end of the day but I did not win any. The projects currently funded by the NCRC are all so diverse and so interesting. After I had been judged I walked around to look at the range of projects.

Research Week @ UL

This year was UL’s second research week. I was definitely less involved in this year’s research week compared to the previous year. Last year I attended talks and workshops as part of the research week. However, this year I was too busy with my postgraduate progression. Usually this is done by filling a form with all the courses taken, papers published and accomplishments in the previous 12 months. A committee then decides if you have done enough to progress to the next year of research. However, this year has been the first year of including a presentation as well as the standard form. The week of the progression presentation was the same week as the NCRC research symposium. I was very busy preparing for both presentations.

I presented first out of the five PhD students in my department. I was very happy with my presentation and received an email the following week to say that I had progressed into the next year of my research!

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