The winners of the Aerprize competition were announced by Seosamh Somers, competition sponsor and president of Angel City Flyers in Long Beach, California.
Carmel Byrne from Eureka Secondary School in Kells, Co. Meath and Conor Kennedy from Castleknock College in Dublin will spend six weeks in California this summer, training at Angel City Flyers to receive their private pilot certificate. Round-trip travel, accommodations, and flight training in the U.S. are included in the prize.
“Angel City Flyers will be delighted to welcome Carmel and Conor to the U.S. this summer,” Somers said. “We have planned for the Aerprize winners’ experience here for the last two years, and everyone is very excited that the concept is now a reality.”
The Aerprize competition was open to secondary school students throughout Ireland. Working in teams or as individuals, entrants submitted an original five-minute video explaining one of 16 STEM principles. Students whose top videos were chosen as finalists went on to complete aptitude testing and have a face-to-face interview with Somers in Cork in March.
“The scope of all the finalists’ discipline and skill was remarkable,” Somers said. “The enthusiasm for the competition and the talent and energy that went into it truly signify the rigors of the students’ education and the dedication of the teachers who mentored them.”
Carmel Byrne was a member of an Aerprize team of four students sponsored by ISTA member Craig Lynch of Eureka Secondary School and Tom Tierney of Castleknock College was the ISTA sponsor for Conor Kennedy.
Somers, originally from County Wexford, said he created Aerprize to help students understand the practical applications of science and engineering through aviation. He intends to sponsor the competition every other year, with the next one slated for 2020. Along with Angel City Flyers, Aerprize is a collaboration between the Irish Science Teachers' Association (ISTA) and supported by Atlantic Flight Training Academy (AFTA) in Cork, and the Institute of Physics in Ireland.