Intermediate School Killorglin (Kerry) and University of College Cork
Bachelor of Science of Ecology from University College Cork
I grew up on a farm in County Kerry, where I got a love for nature and the outdoors! I went on to study the environment in college, and now work in rivers in Kerry
I’m a student researcher in freshwater (river) science. I look the outdoors and do lots of research in rivers and in the mountains! I really enjoy my work, especially as I get to see really beautiful parts of Ireland. On my time off I help on a sheep farm, and like to run and cycle.
I work with a species called the freshwater pearl mussel, which is a shelled creature that likes to live in really clean waters. Unfortunately, river pollution means that the freshwater pearl mussel doesn’t have much clean water to live in, and the populations are getting smaller and smaller. My research is looking at how we use land (for example in farming and in planting trees for forestry) around important rivers, and if the way we’re using the land might be making the rivers less clean. My work involves looking at the amount of “sediment” (i.e. soil) that is in the rivers. I do this by using a wide range of scientific equipment, and a variety of lab experiments. I hope that my research will give us more information about the cleanliness of the rivers so that we might be able help the freshwater pearl mussel to survive.
My Typical Day
A typical day for me includes inpsecting my scientific equipment, recording information about the rivers I work in, and reading/writing about the subject that I work with.
On a typical day, I drive to the office to fill up my car with equipment. This can include tools like sledgehammers, drills and bolts, which I may use to make sure the research equipment I put in the river doesn’t wash away! I also pack up my safety equipment, such as a life-jacket and a walkie-talkie. I then pick-up the more scientific equipment, such as something called an “acoustic Doppler profiler” which is a fancy word for a small boat on a rope that I pull across the river to record how much water is there on the day! I then visit one of the rivers I study to record things such as the water quality, the amount of water, and the number of mussels (the animal I study) that I can see. When I have enough recording for the day, I go back to the office and record everything I learned. I read some research that other people have written on the same subject, write up notes, and prepare for the next day. Often I have to go to a scientific lab to look at river samples I have taken more closely. Every day is different because I record lots of different things about the rivers, and you never know what weather you’ll have to deal with!
What I'd do with the prize money
A interactive workshop to spread awareness of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel in schools
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Friendly, happy, hungry!
What did you want to be after you left school?
A biologist, or a journalist, but I wasn't always sure!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I was a little bit :)
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
I love fresh fruit and really nice bread with lots of butter (or Nutella)!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I went to Australia to get some experience on different types of farms, I worked on a cattle ranch and on a garlic farm!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To be more confident, to travel all over the world, and to be successful at my job
Tell us a joke.
How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh? Tentacles!