DUBLIN, 23 May 2019 — Trinity College Dublin (TCD) PhD student Laura Katharine Finnegan is the 2019 winner of the Mary Mulvihill Award, the science media competition for third-level students that commemorates the legacy of science journalist and author Mary Mulvihill (1959–2015).
This year’s competition invited entries on the theme of ‘Science for the love of it’. Entrants were encouraged to submit work in any format that explored the personal motivations and passions of scientists. As a writer and broadcaster, Mary Mulvihill was motivated by her love of science, and she often chose to feature scientists who themselves showed passion—and love—for their work.
With a record number of entries this year for the for 2019 competition it is a TCD PhD student Laura Katherine Finnegan who has won the €2000 top prize in science media competition.
Ann O’Dea, founder of Inspirefest and co-founder and CEO of Silicon Republic, presented the award, which included a cash prize of €2,000, at a ceremony at the Science Gallery in Dublin this evening.
Laura Finnegan’s entry was a unanimous winner. The competition judges described it as,
“a beautiful and engaging piece, with a very high quality of both narration and illustration”.
A sampler for an illustrated children’s book profiling notable Irish scientists (including Mary Mulvihill and Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who presented the 2018 Mary Mulvihill Award), her entry reflected the pleasure in storytelling and skill and in imparting information that marked Mary’s work.
Anne Mulvihill, Mary’s sister and a member of the judging panel, remarked that,
“Mary would have been delighted with this joyful and creative entry and with its target audience,”
Download a copy of Finnegan’s illustrated sampler: Illustrator Laura Finnegan – TCD – For the Love of Science (PDF, 8 pages, 2.3 MB).
Emily Sheridan, a PhD student at University College Dublin (UCD), received a judges’ special distinction award, which includes €500 in cash.
Emily Sheridan’s entry, entitled ‘A Tale of a Life Lived for Science from an Unlikely Narrator’ comprised an account of her own journey in science and her parallel journey in learning how to cope with mental health challenges that developed during her teenage years.
The judges described the piece as,
“a very readable, engaging and honest account of her personal motivations and struggles with science and how it has shaped her life”.
Download a copy of Sheridan’s entry: Emily Sheridan – UCD – Emily Sheridan – UCD – A Tale of a Life Lived for Science from an Unlikely Narrator (PDF, 6 pages, 707 KB).
About The Mary Mulvihill Award
The Mary Mulvihill Award is a project of Remembering Mary, an initiative established by the family and friends of the late Mary Mulvihill (1959–2015) to honour her memory and her work in science journalism, science communication and heritage and to promote her legacy. It administers and awards funds to support work that commemorates her work and its significance.
The judges for the Mary Mulvihill Award 2019 were:
- Ellen Byrne, Creative director & founder Festival of Curiosity
- Karlin Lillington, Irish Times tech journalist & columnist
- Nigel Monaghan, Keeper, National Museum of Ireland – Natural History
- Anne Mulvihill, Sister of Mary Mulvihill
Notes to Editors
Laura Katharine Finnegan
Dubliner Laura Finnegan is an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholar at the Smurfit Insitute of Genetics in TCD. Her research, under the supervision of Professor Jane Farrar, explores the use of gene therapy to treat inherited retinal degenerative conditions, in order to halt or prevent loss of vision. She is also a tutor with AccessEd, a voluntary programme for second-level students that promotes fair access to university. She also has extensive experience as an illustrator for TCD’s student publication University Times. She has a BA in Genetics from TCD.
Also from Dublin, Emily Sheridan is a PhD candidate at UCD’s Centre for BioNano Interactions, where she is researching the interactions between nano-scale devices and biological systems. She has a parallel interest in science communication; she has worked as a mediator at Science Gallery Dublin and is currently Dublin coordinator for Pint of Science Ireland. She has a BA in Biochemistry from TCD.
Anne Mulvihill and Laura Finnegan are available for interview.
The winning pieces are available on request and will be published on www.marymulvihillaward.com.
Photographer Nick Bradshaw will issue photography to picture desks on the afternoon of 23 May.
Contact: Cormac Sheridan 087-686-4323 / firstname.lastname@example.org