Interview with 2006 winner Aisling Judge

Posted: July 28, 2009 in Former winner
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Tell us about your favourite memories from BTYS&TE?

I have a lot of great memories from when I competed in the BTYS&TE. One of my best pre-exhibition memories is of the times when a group of the students entering the competition from our school got together at each others houses to work on our projects. This was great for me in particular as I was doing my project on my own and it can get quite lonely. We didn’t get much work done but we had fun which is what it’s all about! At the exhibition itself I had a great time, the students discos were a great laugh and funderland was unbelievable! You also have great fun with the teachers – they relax and have fun too.

What do you think is the best thing about BTYS&TE?

The experience of the four days in Dublin. It is so great for your social skills!! You get to mix with students from all over the country and make some really great friends, while also getting the chance to sell your project to professors from all the top universities. There is also a lot of media around too – talking to a reporter really brings you out of your shell! I myself made some great new friends within my own school. I was introduced to someone in my own year with whom I had never spoken to before and we have been best friends ever since.

Why should students get involved in BTYS&TE?

It will be one of the best school experiences you will have!! It puts your dedication and persistence to the test but the reward of the time in Dublin with your friends makes it more than worthwhile!! – How has winning changed your life? Winning the BTYS&TE has opened so many doors for me. I have met so many people and have gotten the opportunity to do so many great things like launching science week and talking to primary school students about the importance of science. I have also matured a lot socially; I am no longer self-conscious or shy in adult company.

What sort of things have you been doing since winning the BTYS&TE?

The years after I won the BTYS&TE were quite busy. I got the opportunity to visit lots of schools to talk about how fun science can be while also being invited to talk at the launch of various science programmes and initiatives. Probably the coolest thing was being invited to watch Liverpool play Manchester United in the FA cup (Liverpool won 1-0)!!! At the moment I am concentrating on getting through my leaving cert and choosing the course I want to Study next year.

What advice can you give to students who are currently trying to come up with interesting project ideas?

I always say to look around you and ask questions. The best ideas come from everyday life – because that’s where they are going to be put to use after all! Start brainstorming with your family and friends, writing down every idea that comes into your head – even the crazy ones! Make sure you choose a project that relates to you because if you are going to be working on it for four months you might as well be interested in it!! Make sure your project is realistic – you don’t have that much time or resources so there is no point in setting out to do something like ‘solve world hunger’. Sometimes simpler is better!

I prefer to leave choosing a title to the very end. I usually write up my one page proposal and fill out the forms before I decide on my title, that way I know exactly what my project is about and what I want to do and can make sure my title reflects that.

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