…Sophie Healy-Thow, Emer Hickey and Ciara Judge, three 10th graders from Kinsale Community School in Ireland.

The trio won the global online science competition for a project that examined the use of natural bacteria to increase crop output in an effort to combat world hunger, and to reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture by minimizing fertilizer use.

The brilliant young women were inspired to try and help improve food production, particularly in third world countries, after learning about a famine in the Horn of Africa in 2011.

Here’s a brief description of the project:

Sophie, Emer and Ciara explain their passion for science and for equalizing the gender imbalance in STEM:

“As females we feel strongly about gender imbalance in STEM, and so one of our main role models is Anne-Marie Imafidon (founder; Stemettes). Another of our role models is Dr. Tony Scott (founder; BT Young Scientist), as he has selflessly dedicated his life to youth science. Someday we hope to emulate their inspiring scientific contributions,” the team explained in their submission proposal.

In addition to science, the young women enjoy music and sports. Emer and Ciara are both accomplished musicians, and Sophie is a talented athlete. All three are considering careers in the biological sciences.

The team’s project was among thousands of teenage submissions from around the world. In addition to major bragging rights, the grand prize includes a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands, an experience at the Virgin Galactic Spaceport, and $50,000 in scholarship funding.

“We have been scientists from a young age, showing a great interest in how the world works and how we can help those around us. It’s OUR turn to Change the World!”

And so they will.

Lead image – left to right… Sophie Healy-Thow, Emer Hickey, Ciara Judge