TY2015: My week at UCC

Zac O’S-H, Midleton College      

TYwk2aSMALLI have just finished my week of work experience in the school of Biological, Earth and Environmental sciences at UCC. It was a week that I used to perhaps learn about the courses I might want to study when I leave school in two years time. I also got to learn about subjects and courses that I did not know even existed before I came here for the week.

My favourite lecture this week was in Geology and Geosciences given by Professor Andy Wheeler. It was interesting to learn about what makes up the Earth’s core and identifying different rocks and fossils in a practical with Dr. Bettie Higgs. I had not known how exciting and interesting the earth’s core and the rocks that make it up could be.

I also enjoyed learning about invasive species with Dr. Simon Harris and then watching a video about other invasive species and discussing their impacts on the native animals and plants of Macquarie Island and island mid-way between the southern tip of New Zealand and Antarctica. These invasive species were mice and rabbits which I hadn’t known could cause such problems for local wildlife as they always looked so cute and fluffy.

I was also lucky enough to get a tour of the UCC campus and the Boole Library which were both incredibly interesting and really, really big. I found this week very interesting and would advise any future Transition Year students to apply for this course next year.


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TY2015: Work expbeerience

Lainey Sands, Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál, Blarney.


For my work experience I went to the school of BEES as I am interested in marine biology and saw that the course covered it. The course lasted 5 days. Everybody in this part of UCC were really friendly and helpful. My favourite day was the first day where we did geology. This was really interesting as we learnt about all the different rocks and what they can be used for, this was very fascinating as some of the rocks were millions of years old. We also learnt about volcanos and how rocks are formed. I learnt that some rocks can be used to make batteries for our phones which was really interesting. After this we learnt about invasive plants which was also really interesting.

In our course there was about 35 people. I made loads of friends which was really fun. We also got an hour for lunch time when we all went for lunch together. In the school of bees there was a café where we stayed in the morning while we waited for the course to start.

My favourite activity overall was mammal ID where we identified animals by their hair and we also learnt really interesting things about hair which I had no notion of. Another fun part of the week was the campus tour. In this tour we got to see the library where all the students congregate every day. We got to see the library’s facilities. We also got told the story of UCC which was very entertaining. My least favourite bit of the week was the postgrad research where we had to do a practical I didn’t like this as it involved catching and releasing mice and I hate mice. Other than that the week was great we were always doing group work which was fun as I got to meet a lot of new people.

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TY2015: The life of a Bees for a week

Cathal de Faoite, Rockwell College


I am one of the students from the transition year course who attended bees Mon- Fri early February. This was an interesting an exciting course that I enjoyed because of brilliant practicals and interesting lectures also the break off school for a week. This week also included a UCC library tour and a campus tour late on Wednesday. A practical that I enjoyed was the bird ring as well as the ecology practical.

In the bird ringing we explored the true nature of bird watchers and how they identify bird by catching them and ringing them. In the ecology practical we looked at the insides of pitfall traps as we looked at the surrounding habitat. I also found interesting the many lectures that were given to us throughout the week and how a course in BEES have many opportunities whether abroad or as a post grad also there are many trips as a BEES student with many field work opportunities exploring the local landscape of cork and Ireland.

I learned many things weather from Geology, Zoology etc. In plant science I learn that the rice crop has more genes than humans with 50000 or in a conservation island out near Antarctica they obliterated the pest species of rabbits rats as they were out of control a deeply harming the surrounding habitat. Though I do have to say that the most important part of the day was lunch.

I came into BEES wanted to get a better taste for biology and other fields associated it. I sure did have a wonderful experience here and it made me think about doing a course here in the near future. Finally I learned college life here in UCC with a Q and A with some students studying here, it seems fun to be a college student as well as all the many services and facilities in UCC. I will come out a renewed on my perception of biology and the field of science.


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TY2015: A new take on GM Plants

Séamas Bulaeir, Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh


‘Theres nothing you can’t do, when you’re dealing with plant!!!’

I was a student at the BEES Transition Year course in 2015. When I first arrived I had a general idea of Environmental Science. I’ve completed projects in different elements of biology, but I had always struggled to see the relevance in this work. During my week in BEES, I learnt much about nature and Biology, but more significantly for me, I recieved a massive insight into the world of GM Foods. Before attending BEES, I had heard all the ghost stories about GM Foods, how they can only benefit the manufacturer, that GM food is full of dirty toxants and that ‘super-weeds’ and ‘super-animals’ would be created, using GM foods and crops. BEES gave me an invaluable insight into how GM foods can be a health benefit, can withstand tougher conditions than organic plants, and will probably be the solution to world hunger in the future. I have realised that these GM plants and foods, will be to the benefit of society across the world. Families in the poorest areas in the world, will now be able to plant they’re own food, generate an income, and give their children an education.

As of yet, I don’t know what 3rd level course is for me, but science will definitely be on the forefront of my mind, particularly the degree in Applied Plant Biology in UCC. This course has completely changed my opinions of GM, and has provided me with new options and opinions for my future.

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TY2015: A week to remember at UCC

Ryan , Midleton CBS


I just spent a week in UCC with the TY BEES programme. The School of Bees in UCC covers all aspects of environmental science, From Zoology to Ecology to Geology.

The first day we came in, we met with Emily and the rest of the group. We then had a talk with Sarah Culloty the head of the School of BEES. We then had a Geoscience lecture, Terrestrial Ecology Practical and a Mammal ID Practical.

The second day we had a Q&A with 4th year students in BEES so we could ask all our questions and find out about the college itself. We also had a Zoology lecture and a Marine biology lecture as well as a Plant Science practical.

The third day we had a Postgrad research workshop, where Post grads explained what they do in their field of work. We also had a plant science lecture and a tour of the whole campus.

The next day we were Bird ringing which involved catching birds and putting some sort of Identification on them so people could examine where they go and what they do. We then had an interactive careers talk where we split up into different groups and had to answer questions about certain types of courses, like, what jobs you can get or what course you can convert to if you change your mind.

The last day (Today) , we had an environmental science lecture which talked about problems with pollution and ways we can stop it, and what you can do with an environmental science degree, and of course , writing this.

It was a savage week to be fair, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to do anything environment related to try it, it’s really helpful in understand what you can do and what it’s like to study these courses.



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TY2015: An exciting week at BEES

Robert Pim, Newtown School Waterford


The TY BEES course in UCC has been one of many highlights of my Transition Year. From making new friends, to holding birds and mice, to meeting all the interesting people in the BEES school.

A high point of the week was Plant Science with Peter Jones on the Wednesday. I found the lecture very motivating, captivating. Peter had given me a very good taste of Plant Science. He gave me a sense of direction, because before I was unsure which part of the BEES was for me. Plant Science was not however the only part of the week to spark my interest. I knew before I came what I was interested in, and I’m leaving in the safe knowledge that I know where to go with my interests.

Another feature of the BEES TY week that liked was the Lecture on International Science. I love to travel, and so found this talk relevant to how I would like to spend my time in UCC. The stories that Dr. Ilse Corkery told us about the places she had been, such as Ecuador and New Zealand were fascinating. The presentation and talk were vivid and got you very excited and nerdy about flora and fauna.

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TY2015: My Week in UCC

Rebecca Moriarty, Mount Mercy College


I found my week in the BEES programme in UCC very enjoyable and a great experience. I learned a lot about the different courses in the programme and I now have a greater idea of what I like and what I dislike.

I found the marine biology lecture and the zoology lecture very interesting as I am hoping to work with animals in the future. These lectures gave me a greater idea of what I would like to do in college and an insight into what kind of work would be available for me if I did these courses. I would also like to travel during or after my degree and after the lecture in marine biology I now know what the best places to visit are and what kind of work I can expect to get.

Although I was not as interested in plant biology as I was with marine biology or zoology, after the lecture I realised that it was more interesting and complex than I thought it would be. It made me realise that there is more to the subject than I had previously thought.

I also really enjoyed bird ringing as it was something I’ve never experienced before and I found it really enjoyable. Birds we caught included a blue tit,a grey tit and a robin. I got to hold them which was very interesting.

Overall I really enjoyed my week as I now have a better understanding of the university in general and of the courses I have a particular interest in. I also made many new friends who I will really miss but who I hope to see back here in a few years as students!



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Ty2015: My week in BEES

Alexa Banaghan St. Mary’s Secondary School Nenagh Co. Tipperary


My whole week at BEES was a wonderful experience. I came here with a fixed idea that my only interest was in Zoology. Throughout the week my views changed each day. I became more fascinated in Plant Science, Ecology, Geology and Marine Biology. I never thought I would find rocks or plants interesting at all. All the students, coordinator and lecturers helped make this programme great fun. Everybody was extremely kind and helpful.

I enjoyed many of the lectures and practicals. The one that stood out to me a lot was the bird ringing. Bird ringing is when you catch a bird and put a small ring around its leg to keep track of it. You can also take note about what kind of bird you caught and what its wingspan is. I got the opportunity to hold a bird which was a first time experience for me. This practical just seemed very unique and interesting overall.

Even though I became more interested in Plant Science, Ecology, Geology, etc, I also became more interested in Zoology. Because of this I found the Mammal ID practical exciting. For this practical I was given three animal hairs and had to inspect it by using a microscope. Then I was given a key to help figure out what animals owned these hairs. I found this very different from experiments I have already done in school.

Not only the lectures and experiments were fascinating during the week. The tour of UCC campus and Boole Library was also impressive. The history of UCC was riveting and amusing.

This wonderful week has created life time memories and good friends and I am very thankful that I participated in it.

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TY2015: My week as a scientist

Kate Grealish, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway.


My experience began on the first Monday of February. I was staying with my Aunt; and Cork was unfamiliar to me. I had no idea what would be facing me in room G13. I very quickly discovered. The week seems to have whizzed by in a blur of engaging lectures, exciting practicals and completely new experiences. Soon enough, UCC felt like my new home and I had made connections that would forever stay with me.

One thing I liked about the week was that every single day was completely different: nothing was ever ‘been there done that’. I constantly felt as if I was expanding my knowledge. I suppose that’s what you want from a Science TY course, isn’t it? When I came to BEES I was hoping for a course that introduced me to the fantastic world of Biological Sciences and would give me a sense of what it would be like to study them, and that’s exactly what I found!

I think my favourite part of the week was either the Terrestrial Ecology Practical, or the Bird Ringing. The Terrestrial Ecology Practical was what I thought, very relevant to today’s world and importing. It gave me an insight into the impact non-native species can make on a habitat. I was very interested into the effects of the Japanese knot-weed and of the uncertain damage land hoppers could be doing to their neighbours. Bird ringing was exactly what I had hoped it would be; a chance to see bird’s first hand and examine their anatomy before setting them free. I think what made both those practicals enjoying was the fact that they were both very physical and gave us TYs a chance to actually do ‘something’

Finally, I thought that it really helped me get an insight into the different courses and how they are all somehow related to one another. It made me feel as if I could do zoology and somehow branch off into environmental sciences for example; that may not seem directly related, but connected invisibly. Without BEES TY course, I don’t think I’d be in the position I am now; knowing so much about University life and really understanding the possibilities lying ahead for Science students of any type.


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Ty2015: My Time in 2015 BEES Transition Year Work Experience Programme

Adam Hipwell from Midleton C.B.S. Co. Cork


From February 2nd to February 6th I attended The BEES (Biological, Environmental and Earth Science) transition year work experience programme in UCC. It has been a great experience and I’ve learned a lot about a variety of subjects such as Ecology and Geology. There were three main parts of the programme which stood out for me.

The first thing that really stood out for me was the work we did with the Postgrads on Wednesday. We were divided into groups and my group went outside. We were given a small lecture on Ecology, habitats and how to find the population of a certain species. The postgrad we were working with then showed us some traps he had set the night before and 4 of them contained mice. It was a fun experience and Ecology is now something I will consider studying in the future. It was also great that we got to work with and help postgrads with their research.

The second thing that stood out the most for me was the Plant Science lecture we got on Wednesday which was very surprising because I would never have thought that plants could be interesting! Professor Peter Jones explained how plants were just as good as, if not better than, animals by telling us that some plants such as the Venus Fly Trap plant can count and eat insects such as Flies. His enthusiasm and humour made it interesting too and overall was a great lecture.

The final thing that I found very interesting was the Geology/Geosciences lecture we got on Monday from Professor Andy Wheeler, I never thought that rocks could be interesting but after this lecture can see now that they are! He gave a detailed explanation on all the rocks and Geology is now something I seriously consider studying in the future.

Overall it has been a great opportunity and I would definitely recommend that 4th year students should apply for the programme next year.

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