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20 under 20

'College is a good bit away': Ireland's brightest young minds are meeting today

The future looks pretty safe from here.

BACK IN JANUARY compiled a list of 20 people under 20 to keep an eye on.

The round-up wasn’t exhaustive, but it included people from all walks of life who have achieved amazing things – at a very young age.

Many of the people on that list are meeting today at Dogpatch Labs, a co-working space for technology startups, at the chq Building in Dublin.

The event is the brainchild of Tom McCarthy, one of the people on our list.

tom Tom McCarthy Vimeo Vimeo

The 15-year-old said the event, which is kicking off at lunchtime, will be very informal.

He said it’s about networking and “throwing ideas around”.

It’s an opportunity for all of us to get together and get to know each other.
We’re all pretty much kids … it’s not the place for formalities. It’s about getting us all talking to each other.

Attendees will take part in round-table discussions and hear from people who have appeared on ’30 under 30′ lists, such as TV presenter and maths lecturer Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin and Tony Ennis of Web Summit.

Tom is very interested in maths, science and computer programming. He hopes to study maths at third level, but admitted: “College is quite a bit away.”

He thanked Patrick Walsh and the team at Dogpatch for helping organise the event.

Tom will start Transition Year at St Gerald’s College in Castlebar next month.

He plans to enter the 2016 BT Young Scientist Competition with a range of experiments involving a small nuclear fusion reactor – which he raised €10,000 to build.

Autism awareness

Adam Harris is another of the ’20 under 20′.

He was previously awarded the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Elevator Award for founding

Adam, who is junior minister Simon Harris’ younger brother, has autism.

The organisation is aimed at helping the public learn more about autism spectrum disorders, as well as helping to empower those diagnosed with the condition to reach their full potential.

AsIAm Ireland / YouTube

As I Am held workshops in 40 secondary schools across the country last year to inform students about autism, which Adam describes as “an invisible illness”.

He said the condition is largely misunderstood, a fact that often leads to bullying and, in some cases, people with autism starting to self-harm.

The organisation hopes to bring its workshop to 100 schools this year.

Adam (now 20) said today’s meet-up will give young people “an opportunity to meet other like-minded people … from a lot of different backgrounds” such as business, sport and social advocacy.

We’re all just starting out, we’ve a huge amount to learn.

“Nobody is coming into this saying we are the best 20 young people in the country … We made the list because recognised we’re working very hard.”

Background: 20 Under 20: Ireland’s brightest and most inspirational rising stars

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