Saturday, 12 December 2015

Intel-CTY Engineering Graduation

Hey guys! I finally got a laptop off my wonderful uncle so I can blog more frequently now that I'm not using an iPad app with five, count 'em, five features. 


Photo by Photographer whose name I don't know


Today, the graduation ceremony of the 2015 Intel-CTY Girls Engineering programme took place in Intel Leixlip. The twenty students on the course and approximately two relatives apiece listened to speeches from Sarah Sexton (Intel) and Colm O' Reilly (CTY Director) about the purpose of the programme and about Intel's history. 

The students then went up and got our certificates (framed!). A photographer was there, but I don't have the photos yet so I'll just put them up when I do. After that, we all got to try on the hazmat suits and had a tour of part of the campus. The final part of the day involved a great lunch that I enjoyed with Gabi and mum Mary.


Details (and Photos!)

It wouldn't be an Elle day out if I didn't have at least one public transport disaster, and this time I got into Dublin at half eleven, went for a rushed hour of Christmas shopping and accidentally spent all my money thinking I had an extra fiver for the train to Intel. I spotted the Luas and found my way to Abbey Street, then discovered that I had no money. A preacher offered me a fiver (big shoutout to him) so I bought a Luas ticket to Connolly to make sure I wouldn't miss my train, missed the Luas by about a second and sprinted to Connolly and made the train - absolutely soaked. I walked the last bit to Intel and arrived in a location of the campus that couldn't have been further from where I was trying to go. Some lovely employees showed me the way and I snuck in the back of the room for the ceremony. Will I ever be on time? Hmm.

Here are some photos of us all trying on the hazmat suits, just on the off chance anyone ever tries to think of me as cool again.

The photographer asked to take a photo of Gabi and I taking a selfie together, which is apparently all the rage now. I completely lost all photogenicity, tragically - it comes and goes. Finally took a photo with an Instagram frame:

Going by this photo, Gabi would be a great astronaut. 

Sarah gave us a little tour after that. I'd heard some of it before on the tour Lauren and I got in August but it was cool. Gabi and I got to talk to Colm, which is always great. He said he'd been talking to Mary Carty (Irish STEM fairy godmother) and we came up through Outbox.

The event organisers put on an lovely spread of free food for us at the end, which was a great reward for all the sprinting. I had soup, a wrap, crisps, two cupcakes and Fanta so shoutout for that. Oh, and not to forget the bag of freebies we all got. 


Thanks to everyone for the fun day, and to CTY, Intel, DCU and our teachers for putting together the course!

Monday, 30 November 2015

November 2015 Review

The Blogger app just crashed and lost this 80% written post, so as I'm now annoyed the rewritten version will be shorter. I really need a laptop. Dates in bold. 

1. Hung out at Ben's photoshoot for the play he's doing. 

4. Went to Web Summit. Had banter with Gabi, Thomas, Catrina, Niamh, Johnny, Ciara, Selina and Campbell. 

7. Spoke on a STEMettes panel about my experiences in STEM. It was great getting to meet all the other awesome speakers, see the STEMettes again and hang out with Alice. Here's a picture of Alice and I being fabulously matching and the best of buds. 

Alice and I went to DCU so I could catch the end of Engineering, where I saw Gabi. 

After that, Alice's nan treated us to Burger King and we were dorks. 

8. Studied with Chloe, then slept over at hers. Was cool but getting a bus in the dark at 6.17, followed by the first train, was weird. 

13. Had a tremendously lovely sleepover with Ben. 

14. Breakfast in town with Ben, then went to the Trinity Maths Physics Open Day on the spur of the moment and saw Gabi, Chloe, Jerry, PJ, James and others, then to Burger King (so much BK) where I saw Mai, John Joe, Thomas and Gillespie. 

18. Choir competition in a local concert hall. My choir came second in our category and the other choir from my school came first in theirs. Fun. 

19. Honours Irish students from my school went to Ballymun to see An Triail in theatre. Pretty good show, although I couldn't get into the right frame of mind to understand Irish for the first part. Oops. 

25. Met Jackson through Ben while on a sick day from school (my fourth sick day ever, I think - something like that). He's hella cool, so that was serendipitous. It's fab when you click with someone. Less fab when they live in a different country. 

28. Braved the horrific weather to meet Gabi outside Trinity then go to DCU for Engineering, where we learned some Java. Then met up with Jack and watched Gabi's musical, which was fantastic and left me feeling perhaps oversympathetic to the villain. We then slept over at Gabi's. 

29. Hung out with Ben, then came home and tried to do some homework. 


Again, this month was great socially and grand schoolwise, but I want to get something cool going so look out for that. 

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Web Summit 2015

Hey guys!

Last week I was given the chance to go to the last Web Summit before the event moves to Lisbon by Ciara Judge (this is yo shoutout), who was presenting an ALPHA-stage startup with Gabi and Campbell and Selina from Texas.

Upon arriving in the general area of the Web Summit, before I even got inside a building, I was given a free tshirt by some company who I'd be able to promo if I hadn't immediately lost the t-shirt. The free stuff was to continue, though, fortunately. 

When I finally figured out how to navigate this setup of the RDS (BTYSTE flashbacks), I was reunited with Gabi (who's Chief Ambassador Liaison and Social Media Director for the startup, Project Zilkr and also meme queen of CTY and Outbox) and met Selina and Campbell for the first time. It's crazy to think they came all the way from Texas for a few days here. I actually bumped into Campbell later that week, at my panel. They're hella cool. 

I spent most of the day at the Zilkr stand (really should've gone to some talks) but did some exploring (getting free stuff, mostly) and saw people from lots of things I've done this year - Johnny from BT Business Bootcamp, Gabi and Thomas from CTYI, Niamh, Ciara, Catrina and Gabi from Outbox and some DYC people from InspireFest. It's really cool bumping into people everywhere - I can hardly go to Dublin  anymore without seeing at least two people I know there out and about. 

The atmosphere at Web Summit was strange - I preferred InspireFest's, then Evolve Biomed's. Maybe it was too reminiscent of Young Scientist or loud. The arena/stage part was cool though, and had wifi that actually worked. 

I got a little lost heading back to the train from the RDS in the dark, ended up sprinting and missing my train by about twenty seconds (literally watched it pull away from the opposite platform). Luckily there was a train I could get three minutes later that would connect via an intermediate stop to where I wanted to go, but without much leeway (leetime?), so I improvised. Why do I feel compelled to update my blog readers on my train misadventures? Very good question. 

Free stuff:

I'm very glad I got the opportunity to go - it was a fun day and will no doubt lead to opportunities in some form or another. Hell yeah. 

Friday, 30 October 2015

October Review

Hey guys! This month was pretty quiet (by gut feeling), not as fun as September or July but still pretty cool. 

Thursday 1st

My friend Chloe turned 18 and I made this bangin' collage. We celebrated later. 

Friday 2nd to Wednesday 14th

I spent a lot of time working on my personal statement and UCAS application - very frustrating. The deadline was the 15th and my guidance counsellor helped sign off on it on time, then there was more application stuff to do and, now that I think of it, I have yet more forms to send off to reach England before the 5th of November. 

Saturday 3rd

Spent a lovely day in town with friends. 

Friday 9th

I attended the launch of the 2016 Youth Media Awards as a past category winner (I'm so thankful for the iPad they gave me). I blogged about that so you can find it by scrolling down. It was a good event with nice food and interesting people, missed double Physics though which is unfortunate. 

This is me and another winner with presenter Miriam O Callaghan. 

Maybe there'll be a day where my hair works out, but it won't be soon. 

Saturday 10th

I hung out with Daniel in the morning, having slept over the night before, then went to DCU for the first day of the CTYI-Intel engineering course. Gabi was doing it too, which was awesome. We studied Newton's laws and basic mechanics the first week. 

That day I learned where Tara Street Station is in relation to O Connell Bridge, information which has proved very useful. Gabi and I wanted to go to Girls Hack IE but couldn't actually find its physical location so didn't. 

Sunday 11th

Nothing exciting happened, but I took an amazing photo of my brother, I love it. 

Tuesday 13th

Again, just family stuff - my sister and I getting acquainted with our baby cousin. 

Thursday 15th

I applied to three different universities in the UK for five courses: Natural Sciences, Chemical Physics, Physics with a Year Abroad, Chemistry, Physics. Really strange decision to make - very adult. 

That evening we had the school's open night. I've blogged about that, so scroll down the blog to find out more. It was fun. 

Saturday 17th

Second day of the Engineering course - we studied aerospace engineering including various plane wing designs and rocket troubleshooting. It was a bit strange since Gabi couldn't make it. 

I got lost in the area for an hour afterwards, so could only meet up with Ben for about fifteen minutes then. Good to see him anyway. 

Monday 19th - Tuesday 20th

Had big Chemistry and Physics tests that went infuriatingly badly, and a Maths test that went alright. We stayed an extra hour after school for maths to plan out our revision. 

Wednesday 21st

Cian's birthday. I think this picture is actually from September or August but it's great so I'm posting it. 

Friday 23rd

We celebrated Elayna's 18th (the following day) in school. A few people brought cake and sweets and made it really nice for her. 

That evening, I got the bus to Dublin in preparation for my trip to London the next day. 

Saturday 24th

The day of my long-awaited London trip for a meeting of the CREST Youth Panel of the British Science Association. I've already blogged about the meeting and will soon blog about my other experiences in London, so look out for that. It was a really cool day and I honestly - at risk of sounding melodramatic - felt like I'd grown up overnight. Knowing I could go to a different country and navigate London on my own gave me confidence. It was wonderful getting to see Floriane and Imogen at the meeting and Sobelema (Outbox) and Jason (CTYI) afterwards. 

When I got back to Ireland at 23:30 that night, Chloe's parents were wonderful and picked me up at the airport.

Saturday 24th - Monday 26th

Stayed with Chloe, had a great time. Particularly enjoyed going for a walk in the dark through a field filled with brambles (not even sarcastic - we had some awesome conversations). Went to see Mam complete the DublIn Marathon on Monday and meet Sonia O Sullivan. Alice found me in the crowd and we hung out with Mam at Starbucks for a while. Very impressive achievement!

Monday 26th - Wednesday 28th

Sleepovers at Alice's. Had a lot of fun - stayed up late watching comedians on YouTube, jammed on ukulele, went out for lunch, went Halloween shopping and went to the library to study. Alice is lovely and, in case she hasn't heard it enough already, an incredible artist and musician. 

Oh, and adorable. 

Friday 30th 

Went to an amazing sleepover/Halloween party at Daniel's with Chloe, John Joe and Joe and had a fabulous time. We watched Zombieland and played Never Have I Ever very tamely, then went to sleep at four. It was great fun. 

Saturday 31st (Halloween)

I went with everyone to the big Halloween reunion from Daniel's from 1 - 6.30, then stayed at Ben's and had a chill Halloween night. Some photos: 

Daniel and I on the DART to the reunion. 

Gabi went as Cinderella and I as Gabi's fairy (witch?) godmother. 

Mai and Daniel being adorable. 

Ellen looking amazing. I think she looks like a queen from Irish mythology. 

Me with PJ and Jack, who I haven't seen in about 5000 years because they live across the country. 

It was really great getting to spend some solid time with Ben - we got takeaway and just talked a lot, until just after midnight when the month ended. Here's Ben sounding very adult on the phone to the restaurant:

Academics and college application stuff were frustrating and not fun this month, but I think the social side compensated for it because that was awesome. 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

British Science Association Youth Panel October Meeting

Hey guys! This is my first blog post written on a computer in a long time because Alice has kindly allowed me to use hers, so shoutout to Alice. I'm going to describe my one-day trip to London in another post, along with what I learned about London and meeting up with some hella cool people. 

The Youth Panel is a part of the British Science Association with around 25 young people with CREST awards aged between thirteen and nineteen. We act as a liaison between the BSA and young people and as ambassadors for various things, including - for some of us - the Wellcome Trust's national Crunch initiative, which educates people about the relationship between our food, our health and the safety of our environment. We'll be meeting a few times a year to discuss and debate things, and also attend events like the Big Bang Fair and British Science Festival. 

So I went over to London on the 24th of October to attend our first official meeting of the 2015/16 year and had a great time. Because it was my first time navigating London on my own and only my second time there ever, I got lost and was late for the meeting, but eventually I got in and it was alright.

Met Floriane from Outbox!

When I arrived, we were in the middle of a session from Debating Matters, who teach people how to debate and give out information packs on various topics. We debated whether space exploration is a waste of money and time, whether animal testing is ever justified and some other topics I missed. To finish that session we gave them loads of ideas for future debates they could hold with other groups. 

Met Imogen from Outbox!

I was really surprised and delighted when I noticed that here there were rarely any lulls; people had their hand up ready to talk all the time, so no one became that person who constantly asks questions or makes points. I've gone to plenty of events for high-achieving teenagers, but I'd never experienced this to such an extent. It was wonderful that everyone was so engaged. 

We then had lunch and I got talking to lots of interesting people. It's kinda unfortunate that whenever I leave the country any conversation I have with people I meet inevitably turns to the differences between that country and Ireland and that country's history with Ireland, especially if I'm with English people. It's quite problematic. Anyway, these people were really cool and had awesome stories and perspectives. I've met so many new people this year with the most amazing experiences, it's brilliant.

After lunch, we did a session with someone from Telefonica where we were told to think of a problem in the world and figure out a way to alleviate or fix it with a budget of £300 (fun fact: I spent one day in London and I still keep saying "pounds" instead of "euro"). My group chose poverty because of course we couldn't choose an easier target, and were quite alarmed when we were told the budget. So we focused on urban poverty in the UK among old people and proposed using solar panels so they wouldn't have to pay electricity bills - one girl in the group had done her CREST award project on solar panels so she knew the details and how cheap they are. Installation would probably be a bigger problem and limit the reach of the £300, but still. Our presentation was the best even though it was pulled together in a panic in about thirty seconds, and the guy from 02 Think Big/Telefonica said it would inspire him to go out and buy solar panels right then. Ta.

To close out the day, we did a live webinar with Nora Maddock from the Wellcome Trust about their Crunch initiative, where we commented on and provided reactions to and suggestions for the schools programme. It was a really interesting and constructive discussion and Nora is really great. I need to email Nora to follow up on something, actually, but I've lost her email so hopefully the project organiser will send it to me soon. The Crunch initiative is looking for ambassadors so I'm hoping to get involved with that soon, although my location (not in the UK) might be an issue since it's a UK initiative. We shall see. Nora left us cool magazines and a little book from the Wellcome trust.

After the day ended, I met up with Jason from CTYI and Sobelema from Outbox, but I'll describe that in the next post. 

Really interesting day, and I very much appreciate the opportunity to visit London - and work on my navigational skills!

Liebster Tag

I've been nominated for the Liebster tag by Harry McCann of 

1. How would you describe yourself using only three words?

Nerdy, earnest, independent 

2. If I gave you $1,000,000 for 24 hours only, what would you do?

I'm not going to go Ciara's route, so my model for this is that the money goes away after 24 hours, but the stuff I've bought with it doesn't, because it's more fun that way. 

I'd pay off the mortgage, pay my college tuition and maybe tuition for some friends, buy half the books from Waterstones Drogheda and get a personal library, buy a ton of plane tickets to visit people, save about three thousand for various school things (I now realise that time is the biggest issue with this question), pay my family back for various things (I heard once that raising a kid to 18 costs about €160,000), have some cool experiences like bringing friends to Gravity or spade camp or some random island, and then ... Charity, I guess, except I wouldn't know which to choose and it doesn't mean much without that. I'd quite like to do an overhaul of academia - I really like the whole 'gentleman scientist' idea. I really don't know what to do with that much money. Buy three million Freddo caramels?

3. What's your favourite TV series?

I don't watch TV (soz). 

4. iOS or Android? Why?

The only device I have at the moment is an iPad so my hands are tied, but I'd choose Apple anyway because their devices are just so usable and enjoyable. I had an Android tablet once and I found the UI pretty clunky and ugly. Also, Apple emojis win by a mile. 

5. Supposed, supposen, the old man got frozen, how many men got frozen?

One. Duh. 

6. What is your favourite colour?

Deep blue or deep reed. I'm just that deep, man. 

7. What drink do you order in Starbucks?

I've never been to Starbucks. A Starbucks did appear in my town this year though. 

8. Favourite word? 

Jeez, that's difficult. I tend to like slender (caol) words (I just noticed that the word caol is actually very leathan) - words with lots of Es, Is and Ls and few Ms and Ns. For some reason I really dislike 'dite' as in 'erudite', I think it sounds harsh. Off the top of my head, I like lily, equivalent, cliste (Irish) and more. 

9. Favourite book?

Only Ever Yours by Louise O Neill. I was supposed to get a review copy of her latest but it seems to have gotten lost on the way to my house, tragically. I also love Ender's Game, Harry Potter, Skulduggery Pleasant and Artemis Fowl.

10. How many hours old are you?

I'm on a plane so I can't google this, and I don't want to work it out manually. It can wait. Forever. 

11. Favourite food?


My questions for my nominees: 

How do you take your tea, if you drink tea?
What are your favourite names?
How do you feel about flying?
Why did you start blogging?
What is/was your favourite subject in school?
What's your favourite means of transport?
Do you agree with Irish being compulsory in schools?
If you could live in any time period, past, present or future, which would it be?
What do you think of the Irish exam system?
Do you believe in gender quotas?
What's your favourite animal?

Got kinda heavy there, sorry about that. 

My Leibniz nominees are Christine Costello, Edel Browne, Aoife, Gabi I can't link to yall because of the Blogger app being near-featureless, but go ahead and do it anyway. 

Rules are that you complete the tag and nominate three other bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. I'm nominating four because some have already been nominated but haven't completed the tag. 

Done 10:28

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

School Open Night 2015

Okay, I know I said that last year's open night was my final open night in school, and it was supposed to be, but our school broke the two-year pattern this year and had an extra open night, so of course I went. This year, I was involved in choir, chess and the Young Scientist room. 

Our school always puts on an amazing show for Open Night. There were three shows by the orchestra, choir, ukulele orchestra and TY play in the assembly hall, the principal speaking in the library,  a decorated room for each subject and each extra-curricular activity plus rooms for things like TY and Guidance Counselling. They also had candles lighting up the driveway this year, which I thought was a really nice touch. There were games and puzzles for the incoming first years to do too, tours from older students around the school and facepainting by Laura and Caoimhe. The Home Ec room always has great food that I never get a chance to try, and they do demonstrations in the various science labs. 

Tends to leave one feeling quite proud of their school (this effect was strongest in me last year). 

I found this year's open night relatively relaxing, and I wasn't as exhausted as I usually am afterwards - well, until the next morning, when I had to get up early for school and basically sleepwalked through that day. 

I spent the time running between the assembly hall and the chess room, which are on opposite sides of the school, and occasionally popping into the Young Scientist room. It was cool bumping into past pupil Orlagh Gaynor, whom I haven't seen in ages due to her being in college. 

After the last  show (which for me involved sitting still while the orchestra played two pieces, singing A Thousand Years by Christina Perri with the choir and then leaving quickly to let the ukulele girls on) I snuck in the bag and watched the excerpt from the play. It was good, the lead actress has amazing stage presence. The main thing is that they filmed a video with Evanna Lynch in it. Evanna, who played Luna in HP, went to my school, and I can't believe no one told me she visited recently. Bah humbug.