Ciara Judge, Emer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow

Teenage scientists and Nissan Generation Next Select 2015

These three teenagers achieved international recognition after winning the 2013 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. Their research project discovered that the bacteria diazotroph can increase germination rates in cereal crops by 50% and crop yields by more than 70%. They have also been named by Time magazine as among the most influential teenagers in the world. #FollowCiara #FollowEmer #FollowSophie

Ciara Judge – last vlog as Generation Next Ambassador.
July 12, 2016

This is Ciara’s last vlog as Nissan Generation Next Ambassador. She filmed it in MIT where she started off her first blog, but now she is mentoring high school students on starting their own businesses. This June Ciara flew into Paris to do a presentation for Nissan about the Generation next Programme, did her Leaving Cert picked up her new Juke and flew to London.

Ciara Judge – awards, exams and New York!
July 12, 2016

In April, Ciara won Cork’s Top 10 Outstanding Young People Award, had her Leaving Cert oral exams, passed her driving test and jetted off to New York!


Emer Hickey – passing the driving test
May 5, 2016


So what have I been up to?

Well March was a big time for my driving career as I passed my driving test the first time!  The test itself went really well, although it is definitely not something I would want to repeat – purely for the nerves before the test.

But now I have replaced my L plates with the N plates, and now no longer need to wait for my parents to drop me anywhere!

Now that I have my full license, I also got to collect my new car from Nissan in Dublin. This time a red and white juke. I am now repping the Cork colours wherever I go and no doubt people know what county I’m from.

Other then this, my time has been unfortunately consumed with study. I finished my German and Irish oral exams in the past two weeks and I am now focused on studying for the Leaving Cert which is fast approaching (Just a little more than 50 days away now).

There has been a little fun in there too of course – I spent a weekend in the Ballyferriter to cram some Irish study before the Irish Orals. It was a great way to study but forget about all the stress!

Not looking forward to studying my way through May and June but at least I can hop in the car and drive to the beach whenever I need a break.


Ciara Judge – passing driving test & studying for the Leaving Cert
April 21, 2016

Young scientist Ciara Judge is as busy as ever with speaking engagement and advoacy commitments in London, New York and her native Cork. Dynamic Ciara still managed to find time to pass her driving test – in between studying for her Leaving Certificate.

February was supposed to be a quiet time for me as I had my mock Leaving Certificate exams but in the end it turned into another busy month! Just as I started my exams I got the great news that the TEDXTeen talk that I did (in my pyjamas!) in the O2 Arena in London went online after only two weeks. It was weird looking back and remembering when it was recorded but it became really satisfying when people started viewing it and giving me positive feedback. I suppose now that more than 10,000 people have seen me in my pyjamas I am stuck with the name ‘pyjama girl’.

UNICEF Ireland liked the theme of my talk about young people becoming ‘Generation Y Not’ and they then surprised me by asking me to become a UNICEF Youth Ambassador based on my interest in educational equality. They also asked me to address a youth conference that they were having in Dublin encouraging young people to get involved and change the world around them – unfortunately, as I will explain later, my busy schedule meant that I was going to be in New York on the day so we went high tech and I made a video address which they used at the beginning of the event.

Then, towards the end of the month, LSN Global magazine interviewed me about my work and I did a photoshoot with them which strangely mainly focussed on the brands I use. Next was another significant milestone – I voted for the first time having driven to the polling station (with my Mom as licensed accompanying driver) in ‘Jeff the Juke’!

Another interesting thing that happened in February was attention drawn to me by the press based on my take on a recent controversy in the UK. There was uproar recently when a boy won the EDF Energy competition intended to encourage girls into STEM and many felt that he should not have been allowed enter. I wrote a blog on the topic which was picked up by the Daily Mail, Telegraph and Huffington Post editions after suggesting that this shouldn’t be a source of upset for female teens – that our attitude should be that we can compete with anyone regardless of gender and don’t need gender segregated competitions. Girl power!

March started really busily for me when I was really surprised and honoured to receive an invitation to No 10 Downing Street to attend a reception of Founders of the Future, many of whom are already curating successful businesses. The network I was introduced to there has awe inspiring potential and I can’t wait to see where my involvement in the Founders Forum takes me. Then it was off to New York to spend a week having been chosen as a Global Teen Leader to attend the Annual Peace Summit organised by the We Are Family Foundation / Three Dot Dash. The foundation chose 30 young people globally who they felt were making a difference in the world. During the summit we met many senior and influential people who helped us develop our skills. I was assigned a personal mentor who heads up a Venture Capital organisation and is a close associate of Bill Gates. At the end of a busy week in NYC, my job wasn’t quite finished – the day after the summit I was a delegate at the Youth Agenda for the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN’s New York Headquarters and then it was another quick flight home and back to my Leaving Cert revision.

After a couple of days rest I was on a plane – AGAIN! A couple of months ago I was asked by the EU Commission to advise them on the drafting of the Bratislava Declaration of Young Researchers for the upcoming Slovak Presidency of the EU.  I travelled to Brussels for a meeting with representatives of the Commission and the Slovak Government. I hope that my comments on how scientific innovation could be encouraged, which were well received by the attendees, will lead to some action, and I’m really looking forward to working further with my coauthors on the declaration in the coming months.

April was a month of great news – firstly I was contacted by the Cork Junior Chamber and told that I was one of their Top Ten Young People for 2016 and that I was one of three award winners being sent to compete nationally to represent Ireland in the Global Junior Chamber Awards.  Finally my persistence and the easy driving in my Nissan Juke paid off and I passed my driving test! I hope that my Leaving Cert Music oral which I completed the following day will go as well when it comes to it being marked!

And as this goes to press I have heard that the We are Family Foundation has invited me back to New York to address attendees at a gala ball at which they are honouring President Jimmy Carter and Bono for their humanitarian contributions. Given such prestigious attendees, I am really honoured to be asked to be the voice of  young people around the world at the function. Looks like there’s more busy times ahead!

Sophie Healy-Throw – Becoming an ambassador
April 21, 2016

Life continues to be busy for young scientist Sophie Healy-Thow who has now become an ambassador for Bono’s ONE Campaign.


I am delighted to have been appointed to the Board of ActionAid UK, an organization that is doing amazing work worldwide. ActionAid is a leading international charity working in over 45 countries. We work with the poorest women and children in the world, changing their lives for good. Action Aid staff provide immediate, hands-on support to women and children living on the margins of survival. We demand action at local, national and international level.

Being a BOARD trustee is a new and exciting role for me and one that I am looking forward to hugely. It will provide me with new experiences and new challenges that will complement the work I already do. I will have the opportunity to meet and work with new groups of people and be part of an experienced and dynamic team who are changing the world for the better, and who are to the forefront of international development.

Another exciting appointment for me is that of Ambassador for the ONE Campaign. ONE, founded by Bono, is a campaigning and advocacy organization of more than seven million people around the world taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.  We believe the fight against poverty isn’t about charity, but about justice and equality. As an ambassador I work with a fantastic team in the fight to end extreme poverty and sexism and lobby governments and politicians to take action.

Earlier this April I was lucky enough to attend the 2016 Thought for Food Global Summit in Zurich where I joined other young people and revolutionary thinkers and leaders in Food Security in the quest on how to feed 9 billion by 2050.  The Summit is a powerhouse of ideas and showcased breakthrough pitches from TFF Global Challenge finalists as well as participation in cutting edge workshops. It was an absolute privilege to attend this event for the second year and catch up with some great people.

Ciara Judge: Super busy February!
March 31, 2016

Super busy Ciara tells us about her February, which involved becoming a youth ambassador for UNICEF Ireland, doing an interview for LSN Global and being mentioned in The Huffington Post, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail to name but a few!

Sophie Healy-Thow shares some exciting news!
March 31, 2016

Sophie had really exciting news to share with you this February, she has been named the Irish Youth Ambassador for the One campaign!

Sophie Healy-Thow – Busy Busy Busy!
March 1, 2016

The last month has been an extremely busy and exciting time for me.  I’ve been appointed an anti bullying ambassador, presented with RTE, met a former President and spoke (twice!) at a technology in education event in in London and also been busy with the tiny matter of launching an App!

I was delighted to be appointed Ambassador for the ISPCC (Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) Youth Shield Award Anti-Bullying Campaign.  This is a campaign that I feel very strongly about and is very close to my heart.  Bullying can have devastating consequences on young people and their families  and everyone has a part to play in preventing  it.  Tackling bullying should be a national priority and I am delighted to be able to lend my support to such an important issue. Read on…

Emer Hickey – Going Back to the BT Young Scientists
February 23, 2016

Young scientist and entrepreneur Emer Hickey has has a busy few months which included returning to the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition and preparing for her Leaving Cert mock exams.


I couldn’t think of a better way to start off my 2016 than being surrounded by students who all shared an interest in science. And so, I found myself at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in January.  Read on…

Ciara Judge – Popular in Japan!
February 23, 2016

It’s business as usual for Ciara as a #GenNext ambassador in January …. as she featured in the most read paper in Japan and spoke in public in her pyjamas – find out why in her latest blog!