Young Scientists in the making!

This week The Hero Network welcomed three ‘Transition Year” students, Anna, Annie and Katelyn, to our weekly meeting on the University of Limerick (UL) campus. All three students attend the Sacred Heart Secondary School in Clonakilty, Co. Cork and recently contacted members of The Hero Network in relation to their application to the BT Young Scientist and Technology competition and exhibition. Their proposed research project will examine whether thinking about and learning about heroes can increase empathy levels in young people, which may, in turn, increase the likelihood of intervening in bullying situations. The problem with many “anti-bullying programmes” is that attendees do not believe that they are bullies and therefore, often think the information does not apply to them. Encouraging heroic virtues such as empathy and courage may offer a creative alternative path to reducing bullying in schools.

We have been extremely impressed by the motivation, initiative, and creative thinking demonstrated by Anna, Annie and Katelyn. We were also delighted that they were willing to come to UL and meet with staff, postgraduate and undergraduate students, and discuss their exciting research ideas. Here is a short blog post, written by Anna, Annie, and Katelyn about their trip to UL! We wish them every success with their application to the BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition.

Our Trip to UL

The Hero Network Meeting (10th October 2018)
The Hero Network members were delighted to meet Anna, Annie, and Katelyn to discuss exciting new research ideas to combat bullying in schools.

At 6.50, we sprang from our beds. NOT! Twenty minutes later we drove off, still half asleep. We arrived in Mallow at 8.45, fifteen minutes early for the bus. The fear of missing the bus prompted this unusual behaviour! The bus arrived and we paid and got on.

After a quick rest on the bus, we arrived in Limerick at 10.10. We still had almost an hour until our meeting but we were new to Limerick city and we didn’t know our way around.  We caught another bus from there to UL. We were amazed when we saw the university for the first time. It was huge, with students coming from every direction. Compared to our small school where everyone fashions the same red jumper and tartan skirt, this place was filled with colour and vibrancy.

We arrived at UL with ten minutes to spare but we had no clue where we were going. Thanks to the help or many students and the receptionist, we found the room while being on time. We were introduced to the small group which consisted of Dr Eric Igou, Dr Elaine Kinsella, Chloe Carrick (research intern, Co-Operative Placement Scheme), Kev O’Malley (PhD researcher) Rob  Crowley (PhD student), Michelle Hess (research intern, Erasmus Programme) and Aoife Whiston (recent graduate, new PhD student).  We were all quite nervous but we were made feel at ease straight away. Even though we weren’t able to answer everything, we felt like it went well. We were given a lot of guidance and help from the group and they gave us alternative ways of carrying out/ improving our project. The meeting lasted about an hour.

After that, Dr Kinsella gave us a quick tour around the building. She introduced us to some of her colleagues. Kev then brought us to the area around the library where he gave us software to use when doing the statistics and downloaded papers for us to read for our project. He then helped us find the bus stop. Thank goodness for that as we would definitely have gotten lost otherwise!

Miraculously, we didn’t miss any buses! Compared to our last bus journey, where we missed the bus up and almost missed the second bus, this was a major success. We arrived home at six, almost twelve hours later. We were tired but we felt like we had gained a lot of insight on how to carry out our project. We are very grateful to all the people who we spoke and for all the help they gave us. We really appreciated it. We had a great day out!

By Anna Flynn, Annie Condon, and Katelyn Dinneen, Transition Year Students of the Sacred Heart Secondary School in Clonakilty, Co. Cork, Ireland

*Note: Student and parental consent were provided before posting this content and associated image. Photography credit to Kev O’Malley! 


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