Category Archives: Winner reports

What Martin O’Halloran did with his prize money…

Martin won the Metre Zone of I’m an Engineer Ireland in 2015. He reports on how he used his €500 prize money for further engineering outreach work.


The take-home message from my work with the I’m an Engineer project was that the future of engineering in Ireland is extremely bright. Over the course of the two weeks I was involved in the project, the number of insightful, clever and well-considered engineering questions coming from the students was remarkable.

Working as a medical device engineer in the National University of Ireland Galway, we benefit from the fundamental science and engineering skills developed by students at both primary and second level. By the time they arrive at third level, their interest and engagement with science and engineer has already been well nurtured.

This is exemplified by the recipients of my I’m an Engineer prize fund, the local Presentation College Headford, who used the funds to purchase a 3D printer, and then guided by their engineering teacher Tom Ryder, went on to win several awards at the National finals of the F1 in Schools Technology Challenge.

The team at ICS Tech Week 2016 | Picture Conor McCabe

This Challenge is a global multi-disciplinary competition that challenges secondary school students to design, build and race miniature compressed air powered balsa wood Formula One cars. PCH used the 3D printer to develop their ideas and manufacture parts for their prototype cars. PCH’s senior team then qualified for the world finals last October in Austin, Texas and did Galway (and Ireland) proud!

Posted on August 23, 2017 modantony in SFIwinner, Winner reports | Comments Off on What Martin O’Halloran did with his prize money…

What Ned Dwyer did with his prize money

Ned was voted the winner of Space Zone in February 2016. Here he reports back on how he used his €500 prize money for more public engagement with space engineering.

If you’d like to engage with schools online, and have the chance to win funding for your own outreach activities, apply for the next I’m an Engineer at imanengineer.ie/engineers-apply


The charity Brighter Communities (formerly Friends of Londiani) brings together schools in Ireland and Kenya to share experiences, break-down barriers and promote understanding around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. One of the methods used is Skype conferencing.

Given the limited resources available to the many schools in rural Kenya, I thought it would be great to support their access to our technological world, by donating the money I won through I’m an Engineer, to Brighter Communities, to help them purchase a laptop, with internet accessibility which could be used as part of their work bringing schools together and discussing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

I then recorded an audio-visual presentation on how various aspects of space science (remote sensing, GPS positioning and telecommunications) help us to monitor crop-growth, droughts, floods, refugee migrations and therefore support  organisations in addressing in particular the Sustainable Development Goal No. 2 “ Reduce World Hunger” and Sustainable Development Goal No, 13 “ Monitor Climate Change”.

Students in a Co. Cork School contemplate the UN Sustainable Development Goals

This audio-visual recording was used in Ireland when school classes were discussing the SDGs and was also shown in a school in Kenya to over 30 students, where there was a great reaction to it . The students said the video  gave them a general understanding about the power of satellites and the impact they can have on our lives; they were amazed at how they work and could see that from their monitoring  that there are advantages in planning ahead of a drought, flood, natural disaster, etc.

Screenshot from my audio-visual presentation

After the video there were loads of questions for me to answer like “what keeps satellites in space?”; “what materials are satellites made from?”; “what kind of energy is used to keep the satellite there?” So I recorded a second audio-visual presentation answering those questions, which is also being shared with the schools. Both of these videos are being made available on the Brighter Communities website as a resource for all who wish to use them.

Their counterparts in Kenya study the same Sustainable Development Goals

However, it does not end there – the plans are that in Autumn 2017, after the video has been shown in class, we can do a live link up with both the schools in Ireland and the schools in Kenya, so I can answer the questions directly or through an on-line chat, and show that satellite and space systems are for everyone and all can aspire to contributing through their career choices to this fascinating technology which can be put to use for the benefit of mankind.

Ned taking part in a panel discussion on studying the ocean at Ciência Viva

Meanwhile in Portugal, where I currently work, I was asked by Agência Ciência Viva, a fantastic organisation raising awareness on science throughout the country, to give a lecture to school teachers on how satellites can be used for monitoring the ocean. That certainly put my rudimentary Portuguese to the test, but the teachers loved it and were really fascinated about how much we can learn from the images and data sent back by the satellites.

Posted on July 12, 2017 modantony in SFIwinner, Winner reports | Comments Off on What Ned Dwyer did with his prize money

What Padraic Morrissey did with his prize money

Padraic was voted the winner of the Boole Zone in February of 2015 and got straight to work making the most of his £500. Here he tells us what he’s been up to in the last year…


Since 2015 was the International Year of Light I thought the most fitting way to spend the prize money from I’m an Engineer was to develop some workshops to explain how lasers and light are used in high speed internet connections and data transmission. After some research, I found a really interesting experiment where a laser was used to transmit the sound from a CD player across a room with the data encoded on the laser beam itself. I bought some electrical adapters, lasers and circuit boards online and started to build one of these transmitters myself. After a little work I got it going and had music from my phone being wirelessly transmitted across my office to a small speaker!

IMG_1519

Padraic and willing henchmen begin to assemble the laser death ra- errr, sorry, laser music transmitter.

The transmitter wasn’t that hard to copy once I had the first one made, so I thought it would make an ideal workshop for students where they could learn a little about lasers and electronics. Our next outreach event was coming up, so I bought enough parts to make 15 kits and we were ready to try it out. The event was brilliant, and after a couple of teething problems we had all of the 8-12 year old students working on their own laser transmitter!

Behold! New and improved Light™! Now with added sound function!

Behold! New, and improved, Light™! Now with added sound function.

Since then, I’ve made improvements to the transmitter to make it a bit easier to put together. I’ve also purchased a programmable LED cube that’s been very popular in our outreach activities. The kits were a great success during Science Week last year, where we had multiple versions setup at different stands in Tyndall. In the coming months I’m planning on visiting some of the schools I spoke to during the I’m an Engineer live chats and see what they think of the kits in action.

Posted on January 20, 2016 modantony in SFIwinner, Winner reports | Comments Off on What Padraic Morrissey did with his prize money