It was a big surprise to win the Food Zone for 2019. I had expected to be voted out early on in the competition, especially after looking at the profiles of the other great scientists in the competition.
I want to thank all of the students and teachers who took time out of their school day and also to those who came online in the evening sessions. There were many great questions about science in food and there seemed to be a lot of concern about climate change and the world ending. There were a lot of questions asking what my research is doing for the environment and also if ‘cow’s burps smell’ which I thought was quite funny.
I particularly liked the range of very serious questions to the questions that I had never thought about before such as ‘what’s the best invention ever?’. I have definitely learned a lot about the big concerns of children today, which seemed to be climate change. I was proud to tell them how my research could have a huge impact on climate change, but also making kids realise the importance of farming in society.
With the prize money, I am very happy to say that VistaMilk and I have bought an anatomy cow as promised. We will be able to take the cow around to many different schools all over Ireland and explain how cows ‘work’. I am really looking forward to helping kids understand the importance of farming all over Ireland.
One of the goals in my career is to give the community a better understanding for farming and also explain what we as scientist are already doing to reduce each farmer’s carbon footprint. I personally think that it is crucial for the survival of farming – for farmers to feel valued and know that the community supports their work. This is very close to my heart as my parents are dairy farmers in New Zealand, and to some farmers it feels like the world is against them. It’s time to change that and support each other!
Finally I would like to thank my colleagues here at VistaMilk and Teagasc for giving me this opportunity to enter into the I’m a Scientist competition. I have learnt a lot about communicating my research to others through this and would like to thank everyone who asked me questions and voted for me.
Up for the challenge?
Want to answer some downright weird questions? Maybe even learn things from students?
I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here runs every March, June, and November.
It only takes 2 minutes and one sentence to apply!