School students at the Queen Elizabeth II High School have won the prestigious Society of Biology Prize in the National Science and Engineering Competition, –beating 214 other entries at the Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair.
Students Emma Howard, Annabell Jose, Grace Harrop and Millie Barrow qualified for the finals of the national competition after becoming North West Young Engineers 2013 at the Big Bang North West Fair – and have now gone one step further.
Their ‘Grow your own clothes’ project was a hit with judges and attracted lots of enquiring visitors to their stall at the two-day event.
The competition recognises young people’s achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and aims to encourage them to consider careers in them.
The girls were delighted, with Emma saying: ‘Winning the Society of Biology Prize was really unexpected.
‘We were completely shocked when they called our names.
‘We felt very honoured to gain such a prestigious award as we were up against some amazing projects.’
Grace added: ‘It has been an amazing experience. It was so inspirational hearing about all the finalists’ projects, everyone had put in so much effort and it really showed.’
Annabell was equally elated and said: ‘Over the two days, hundreds of people must have stopped at our stall to look and talk to us about our project. Many of the students wanted to touch our bacteria-grown clothes and our Kombucha material.’
Teacher Lesley Sleight said: ‘Ellie Taylor, presenter of the BBC Three programme, Snog, Marry, Avoid? also visited the girls and did a funny sketch to camera with them.’
The only disappointment for the girls was that they were told that the competition’s main funder, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is unable to support non-UK residents and had not previously realised that the Isle of Man was a crown dependency and therefore notpart of the UK.
This meant that the school could not compete for the core prizes and was only eligible for sponsor prizes.
Millie said: ‘It is a real shame that students from the island will not have the opportunity to take part in the future. More than 70,000 people attended the fair and it was a great opportunity to showcase our work and meet some of the country’s leading scientists and engineers.
‘Winning a nationally-recognised award has opened new opportunities for us, even job offers and apprenticeships.
‘It would be fantastic for students if the Isle of Man Government could run their own little Big Bang Fair.’
You can see the girls video with Ellie Taylor by visiting www.nsecuk.org/View/?con_id=693