By Paddy Henry
Galway student, Michael Flaherty, has become the first Irish student to participate in the Brain Bee World Competition. The Brain Bee is a neuroscience competition aimed at students in the later stages of their second-level education and draws 30,000 students annually from over 30 countries.
Michael, who is currently a 6th Year student in Coláiste Éinde in the city, qualified for the tournament in South Korea after triumphing at the first Irish Brain Bee Competition, which took place in NUI Galway and was conducted by Galway Neuroscience, a community of academic staff and researchers. The Irish leg of the competition attracted students from schools across Galway City.
Event organiser, Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at NUI Galway, John Kelly, stated last week, “We are delighted to have got this competition started, and Michael will be a wonderful representative for the international competition”.
Michael’s biology teacher, Emma Dalton, expressed her delight with Michael’s achievements, telling SIN, “When I found out about the first Irish Brain Bee, I asked him to participate, as I knew he was a hard worker with an interest in Neuroscience. I was so impressed with Michael and his classmates that took on this challenge, as we had not even covered the nervous system in class yet and they signed up to learn a whole book on neuroscience! I just wanted the students to have an opportunity to take part in this unique competition, but I was beyond proud of them when they took 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the quiz. I am grateful to NUI Galway for hosting the competition during brain awareness week. The college always put on some great activities during that week and the Brain Bee was no exception. Hopefully the competition will continue in Ireland for many years.”
The man of the moment, Michael, spoke of his delight at being able to compete internationally in such a prestigious event, stating, “The road to competing internationally at the International Brain Bee World Championship in South Korea has been challenging, but I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to compete. Biology, especially neurobiology, has always piqued my interest. Learning more and contributing to further development in these fields is an aspiration of mine which this competition has definitely supported. This experience has been absolutely amazing and I am grateful to the people who have helped me along the way, mainly my biology and chemistry teachers, John Kelly and my family and friends, especially my fantastic sister Elizabeth who will travel with me.”