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20 Transition Years get a taste of CIT chemical engineering

20 Transition Years get a taste of CIT chemical engineering

Published on: Tuesday, 06 May 2014

We have just completed a pilot programme to bring 20 transition years into CIT to experience chemical engineering.  After the very successful Engineering Roadshow, where CIT held engineering promotion events in six county towns and Cork city, the Chemical Engineering degree has piloted a two day programme for transition year students.  The programme was facilitated by Charlie Dolan, formerly of Lilly.  We tried a geographic spread: St. Brogan’s Bandon, Coachford Community School, Colaiste Criost Ri in Douglas, MICC Dunmanway and Glanmire Community School.  The visits were enthusiastically facilitated by the Guidance Counsellors and as a result many of the transition years in each school heard about Chemical Engineering and the career opportunities it opens up.  Students were then offered the opportunity to apply for the limited spaces on the programme by applying by email  (using the CV template that they had prepared in TY). Following the closing date, interviews were scheduled for every applicant and based on the interviews, the places were allocated.

The first day was held in the bright and airy Nimbus Centre in CIT.  After an introduction from Dr. Michael J. O’Mahony, Head of the Dept of Process, Energy & Transport Engineering, David Reilly (2011 class) from FMC and Erin Reidy (2013 class) from MSD Brinny explained why they had chosen chemical engineering in CIT, what were their experiences and what their current work entails.   As well as staying for a discussion, David and Erin stayed for the following tea break, to give the students a less formal opportunity to ask questions.  This was followed by Ian O’Sullivan and his (in)famous cup of tea analogy – guaranteed to be memorable and leave them thinking.  A cup of tea will never be the same again!

In the afternoon, the students were tasked to interview final years presenting posters at the Engineering Exhibition, on the students’ project outcomes and also their personal experiences. 


On the following morning, after a stern safety briefing from Pat Kennedy, the students undertook a selection of exercises in the laboratory.  Teresa Twomey guided them in a bench-top chromatographic separation, remarking how it can be undertaken at production level and showing its application as an analytical method. 




Caroline O’Sullivan and Sandra Lenihan supervised the cell growth experiment, where the students used CO2 production as a measure of yeast growth – and learned the experimental error consequences of not ensuring all connections are tight. 






Aisling O’Gorman introduced them to the delights of the rheology of tomato ketchup and oobleck.  Combined with the earlier tea experience, food will never be the same again. 






Finally, Noel Duffy ensured nobody got an early shower when operating the gas scrubber.






In the afternoon, the TY teams prepared their presentations, mentored by four of the third year students: Sarang Joshi, Roisin Kelleher, David Leahy, and Norma O’Mullane.  Working in the confines of the Library Conference Room and the open access computer room, the air was tense with anticipation.  The winning team went home with vouchers for their efforts.