The UA Blog

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Anna Varadi

In 2015, University of Exeter student Anna Varadi’s essay, ““The acquirement of knowledge”: Prometheus as a Catalyst for Identity Formation in German “Sturm und Drang” and English Romantic Literature” was Highly Commended in the Literature category.

Since the Undergraduate Awards in 2015, Anna moved to Reading where she is in the second year of her PhD in Television Studies. She also teaches undergraduate seminars on television at the University of Reading. She is very fortunate because her research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership: this scholarship has allowed her to pursue her passion for television full-time.

Anna credits her experience at the Undergraduate Awards as a much needed and incredibly motivating push which really anchored my interest in academia and my desire to pursue a PhD. She describes the UA Global Summit as one of the best experiences of her life and states that she still keeps in touch with several amazing people who she met in Dublin.

Her PhD focuses on contemporary American television drama set in the 1980s (such as, ‘The Americans’, ‘Stranger Things’, ‘GLOW’): as such, she examines how the cultural heritage of 1980s America is represented for a contemporary audience and she focuses on possible reasons why the 1980s might enjoy so much popular cultural interest in America right now – are there, perhaps, cultural parallels? How has the 1980s shaped today’s America and what are these television shows saying about it?

With this in mind, her project has often moved towards an interrogation of contemporary American socio-politics, as well, which has certainly given her a lot of current affairs material to work with. Her work is also concerned with the close analysis of television aesthetics and style because she cares very deeply about taking a critical look at every fibre of every television frame. This has not exactly made her Netflix binges too easy, but it’s part of the job!

Outside of the academic bubble in which she studies and works, Anna is an avid social media user (@varadiwatchesTV), she writes poetry, and spends as much time traveling as she can afford.

In 2016 she had the opportunity to go to the USA to present a paper at a conference held at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she also received a Graduate Scholar Awards. Anna is spending the summer of 2018 presenting papers at various international conferences on nostalgia, feminist media culture, and the future of Television Studies. She is also a vocal Star Wars fan and has published a think piece on the late, great Carrie Fisher’s star image as presented on the cover of her incredible memoir ‘Wishful Drinking’.

 Anna states:

It is a lot of fun to watch television as part of my job. But I hope that my job is about more than that: we teach our students to think about television as a platform for important sociocultural debates, and I hope that my own research can comment on the way our past (and history) shapes personal as well as national self-understanding.

We at The Undergraduate Awards wish Anna the best in her work, and look forward to seeing what she will achieve in the future.

Submission Criteria: Word Count Limits

For written work  for most categories, the word count must be between 2,500 – 5,000 words, with the exception of the following categories:

  • Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Computer Science
  • Earth & Environmental Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Life Sciences
  • Mathematics & Physics
  • Medical Sciences

These categories can be up to 12,000 words long.

The submission criteria allows for a 10% leeway over the maximum word count of your chosen category. For example, if the word count of your category is 5,000 words: a paper of 5500 words will be accepted; if it is over the maximum word count it will be disqualified.

Papers with a word count below the minimum of 2500 words will be disqualified, there is no leeway under the minimum word count.

Table of contents, abstracts, footnotes, appendices, titles and references are not included in the word count.

For the portfolio-based categories, Visual Arts and  Architecture & Design, the submission is a little different.

Visual Arts is a portfolio-based category. Analytical or critical papers on the subject of art should be submitted to Art History & Theory. Students of Product Design should submit to Architecture & Design.

Entrants should submit a maximum of 10 images and an Artist’s Statement between 200-300 words, explaining their work.

Architecture & Design is a portfolio-based category. Analytical or critical papers on the subject of architecture or design should be submitted to the Art History & Theory category.

Entrants should submit a maximum of 10 images and a Statement between 300 – 1,500 words, explaining their work.

If you would like to submit your work to The Undergraduate Awards, click here!

Where Are The Now Wednesday: Joshua Wong

 In 2016, University College London student Joshua Wong was Highly Commended for his submission, “Development Of Ultrasound Phantoms With Controlled Acoustic Properties For Percutaneous Procedures” in the Mathematics & Physics category.

Although born and raised in Singapore, Joshua is currently a first year graduate MB BS candidate at University College London Medical School (UCLMS) in the UK. Prior to this, he graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Genomic Medicine as an IARU-GSP Scholar. He also holds a BSc in Physics with medical physics (1st Class Honours).

Joshua believes that research is an important aspect in medicine as it is one of the ways forward, to continually optimise medical treatments for the betterment of healthcare. As such, he is actively involved with clinical research and is currently working on a project on top of his medical studies. The recognition given by UA for his first research work on ultrasound phantoms was actually part of his motivation to continue conducting research – research can be dry and difficult at times but appreciation from other academics can be a good motivator!

Academics aside, Joshua enjoys playing tennis and represents UCLMS in the Men’s second team. Given his strong ties to his roots, he is delighted to have been appointed as the President of the Singapore Medical Society of the UK (SMSUK). SMSUK is a non-profit organisation with over a 1000 lifetime members to represent the interests of Singaporeans receiving their medical or dental education in the UK. During his term, Joshua plans to implement new ideas and bring the society to the next level.

Truth be told, I have come a long way to get to where I am today. Without any formal biology or chemistry education or qualifications at ‘A’ levels, I struggled with medical school entrance exams or to even be eligible to apply. Unsuprisingly, my application to study medicine was rejected more than 10 times by various medical schools around the world. Although dejected, I was not going to give up on my dream that easily. While everyone else was having fun during university summer vacations, I would be studying at home. I worked really hard to get to where I am today and although I sacrificed a lot of things, it has been all worth it. I truly enjoy what I am studying now and have no regrets. The main takeaway from my story is to never limit yourself – if you dare to dream it, you can achieve it!

If you would like to follow in the footsteps of Joshua, submit up to three assignments to The Undergraduate Awards. You could win a free trip to Dublin, Ireland to join us for the UA Global Summit!

Category Spotlight: Life Sciences

This category is for students of the Biological Sciences, including Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Virology, etc.

Entrants must submit an abstract of between 100-300 words long, and the submission word count is between 2,500 and 12,000 words.

In 2016 the category was won by Sadaf Sohrabi from the University of Edinburgh for their paper, “Are Amyloid-Beta Mediated Degenerative Changes Dependent Upon Tau In A Novel Mouse Model Of Alzheimer’s Disease?”.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative condition affecting 46 million people worldwide. Two pathological proteins, amyloid-beta (Aβ) and tau, are heavily implicated in AD progression, however their exact roles remain elusive. Critically, the bulk of AD research thus far has focused on the pathogenic roles of amyloid, so this new model provided invaluable insight into the relatively ambiguous functions of tau.

In 2015, Dylan Ryan from University College Dublin won the category with his paper “A Biochemical Investigation into the Neuropathology of Cystinosis“. The aim of the project was to investigate the molecular mechanisms underpinning neuropathology in cystinosis, using C6 glioma and bone-marrow derived macrophage (BMDM) cell lines as a model of brain glial cells.

If you are a Life Science student and would like to follow in the footsteps of these wonderful students, then submit your work to The Undergraduate Awards.

Institution Spotlight: University College Dublin

If you would like to follow in the footsteps of these wonderful academics, submit up to three papers to The Undergraduate Awards!

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Wyatt James Merkley

Wyatt James Merkley, from Western University, was Highly Commended in the Literature category for his paper: “Literary Amplification: Jon Krakauer’s Use of Intertextual References in Into the Wild and Their Role in The McCandless Phenomenon

Wyatt is currently living in his hometown of London, Ontario, Canada.

He was thrilled to take a job upon graduating as an academic writing tutor for “The Write Place” at King’s University College, an affiliate college of Western University.

After graduating, Wyatt took a well-deserved year off school for the first time, devoting his time to traveling, reading, and relaxing with family and friends. He hiked and backpacked around Ireland, Wales, and England, visiting sites he’d read about in famous English Literature, from the house in James Joyce’s “The Dead” to the Tennyson Down on The Isle of Wight, to Tolkien’s favourite Pub, the Eagle and Child, in Oxford. He was happy to finish seeing the Dublin sites he’d started seeing while at The Undergraduate Awards and delighted to continue literature conversations with fellow Highly Commended award winner Joe McCarthy, who hosted him in Cork.

Overall, the break from academic deadlines was nice, but Wyatt is quite happy to announce that he will be pursuing his Master’s of English Literature this coming fall, again at Western University, with the aim to eventually complete a PhD so that he can sew patches onto the elbows of his tweed jacket. Big summer plans include traveling in Canada’s north, being outside lots, and starting Joyce’s Ulysses this upcoming “Bloomsday”, June 16th.

If you would like to submit your work to The Undergraduate Awards and be in with the chance to join us for our Global Undergraduate Summit 2018, click here.

For more information about The Undergraduate Awards, visit our website, our Twitter page, or our Facebook page.


Category Spotlight: Earth and Environmental Sciences

This category is for students of the natural environment and ecosystems, including students of Earth Science, Agriculture, Geography, Geology, etc.

Students of Human Geography should submit their work to Social Sciences: Anthropology & Cultural Studies.

Entrants must submit an abstract of between 100-300 words long, and the word count is  2,500 – 12,000 words.


In 2017 the category was won by Bridget Murphy from Western University. Her paper, “Future Climate Conditions Alter Leaf Thermotolerance In Canadian Boreal Trees“, highly impressed the judges.

Bridget sampled seedlings grown under varying CO2 concentrations combined with ambient, ambient +4 C and ambient +8 C growth temperatures and exposed needles to temperatures between 25 C and 60 C from 3 to 30 minutes. She found that elevated temperature increased the needle thermotolerance of both black spruce and tamarack to brief, extreme heat exposure. Her work indicated a potential for species-specific resilience to predicted severe heat waves.




The judges were very impressed with Bridget’s research, with one stating

I thought this paper shows how a student engaged in the scientific process, from a study design through to undertaking laboratory experiments, analysing results, and eventually making a contribution to our understanding of likely plant responses to a changing climate. What set it apart from the other papers in my top three or four was the fact that the student collected the data him/herself, which provided an added dimension not in the others.

In 2016, the category was won by Wayne Egan from the Institute of Technology, Sligo, with his paper, “To assess the impact of the Bellawaddy River on the microbiological quality of the bathing waters of Enniscrone Beach, Co. Sligo, Ireland“.

In his project the Bellawaddy River was assessed to see if it is a source of Short Term Pollution at Enniscrone’s bathing waters. Discharge of the river was measured using an automatic water level data logger in conjunction with an ascertained rating curve. Indicator bacteria levels were measured in the river and the bathing area. Daily rainfall data was obtained from a local rainfall station. The river was seen to produce hydrograph responses to heavy intense rainfall events. Very large concentrations of indicator bacteria were measured in the river after these hydro-meteorological events. These results showed strong correlation to highly elevated levels of bacteria (STP) in the bathing water. It is concluded that the Bellawaddy River is a primary source of bacteria for the STP events.

If you would like to follow in the footsteps of these wonderful academics, submit your work to The Undergraduate awards before June 12th!


Category Spotlight: History

This category is for students of History, including International, Modern and Contemporary History. Papers on Ancient History should be submitted to Classical Studies & Archeology and papers on Art History should be submitted to Art History & Theory.

Entrants must submit an abstract of between 100-300 words long and the paper must be between 2,500 – 5,000 words.

In 2016, Emilia Antiglio from University of Warwick won this category with her paper, “The Diffusion of ‘Porcelaine des Indes’ in Eighteenth-Century France: from Lorient to Paris and beyond, 1720-1775″.

Her paper set out to retrace the diffusion of Chinese porcelain from the port of Lorient to the commercial scene of Eighteenth-Century Paris, in order to identify patterns of trade, circulation and consumption. Her work revealed that the diffusion of a global commodity such as porcelain relied on a complex ensemble of intertwined commercial networks; in parallel, they also underline the fact that little evidence remains to sustain the assumption that porcelain had already penetrated the lower classes of Eighteenth-Century Paris. Unlike in Britain or in the Dutch Republic, porcelain in France remained a luxurious commodity enjoyed exclusively by the wealthy well into the Nineteenth Century.

This years History Chair is Andrea Nanetti from Nanyang Technological University Singapore,  where he currently resides as Associate Professor and Associate Chair (Research) at the School of Art, Design and Media with a courtesy appointment in the School of Humanities (History Programme), Senior Research Team Member of the Complexity Institute, and Faculty Member of the University Scholarly Program.

Andrea has been continuously impressed with the standard of academic essays that we have received. Speaking on last years’ winning History submission by Stanford University, Andrea stated:

This is an outstanding study of health and medicine which speaks to a range of historiographies, and uses a novel social and cultural history approach to exploring the development of medical ideas with a clear grasp of contextualised details. Applying data mapping and cartography as complementary methodologies, it presents an illuminating discussion of nineteenth century spatial analysis and the origins of modern-day visual methods in science and humanities.

If you are a History student and would like to follow in the footsteps of students such as Emilia, then submit up to three assignments to The Undergraduate Awards before June 12th! Click here to submit!

Institution Spotlight: National University of Ireland Galway

The National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) is located in Ireland’s most westerly city of Galway. A tertiary-level teaching and research institution, it is ranked among the top 1% of universities in the world.’

Students from NUIG have had much success with The Undergraduate Awards.

In 2017, Psychology student Eimear Bane was Highly Commended in this category with her paper, “An Investigation into the Effects of Negative Mood Congruency on Eyewitness Accuracy“.

The paper explored the impact of negative mood congruency on eyewitness accuracy. She found that some of the research that has been done has found that being in a negative mood state at retrieval impairs recall, while negative mood congruency (i.e. being in a negative mood at both encoding and retrieval) increases recall.

Her experiment asked a group of students to watch a crime event and then they were asked to freely recall the crime in either a congruent or incongruent mood. Analysis found that negative mood at encoding, negative mood at retrieval and negative mood at both stages had no significant effect on eyewitness accuracy.


Also in the 2017 Psychology category was Judith Burke, who submitted her paper on “Investigating the effects of performance evaluation on levels of state anxiety and self esteem in perfectionists literature review”

The paper examined changes in state anxiety and self esteem scores following administration of feedback for 122 university students. Specifically, this study sought to determine if performance feedback valence (positive, negative, or none) and method of delivery (social, computerised, none) would impact levels of state anxiety and self esteem in perfectionist orientations (self oriented, socially prescribed, other oriented).

Her findings provided further evidence for the link between perfectionism and constructs of maladjustment, particularly anxiety, and how failure situations may influence changes in these measures in perfectionists. Suggestions for future research are subsequently discussed.

If you would like to follow in the footsteps of Judith and Eimear, then submit up to three papers to The Undergraduate Awards before June 12th!

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Dawid Sawicki

Dawid Sawicki studied Economics at the University of St Andrews. He was a Highly Commended Entrant in 2016 for his paper “European Integration And Income Inequality: A Panel Data Study

Dawid currently lives in London, United Kingdom. He is an Executive at an international advisory and accounting firm, Moore Stephens LLP. He works with a portfolio of real estate and construction clients, providing assurance services on their business practices.

One of the key aspects of the job that I really enjoy is that I get to see the new snazzy-looking buildings before the people who will actually use it – my recent visit to Google’s new offices was particularly exciting!

Dawid has also worked with large international donors, including the funding agencies of the United Nations and the World Bank. In 2017, he worked with ten NGOs in Central Asia, helping them strengthen their core management functions. Notably, in September 2017, he worked with a small NGO in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, whose objective was to help girls aged 6-14 complete primary school education. The work required analyzing all of the organization’s processes, including programme implementation, hiring of new staff, financing, accounting and procurement, as well as providing recommendations regarding improvements to these.

It is so important to every once in a while do something without looking at the bottom line. My work in Dushanbe was one of the best experiences I’ve had thus far – not only did I manage to visit a fantastic country, but also put my accounting and finance skills into practice to (hopefully) make somebody’s life better.

His work involves a lot of traveling both locally in the UK and overseas. Apart from Tajikistan, he led projects in Ireland, Greece, Turkey and Kazakhstan.

After The Undergraduate Awards, he has not given up writing on issues that interest him. He published his paper on income inequality in an American journal Issues in Political Economy. In 2018, he also published a business piece on revenue recognition practices in a leading accountancy journal, Accounting Today.

Dawid is also currently studying towards an ACA qualification. He has currently completed twelve out of fifteen exams and is due to fully qualify in September 2018.

If you are interested in submitting your work to The Undergraduate Awards as Dawid did, please follow the link here.


UA Submission Criteria: Anonymity

For your work to qualify for The Undergraduate Awards, it needs to be completely anonymous in order to limit bias from the UA judging process.

It is very important that your submission does not include any personal details or details of your Institution. Failure to remove these personal details from your submission will result in disqualification.
Before you submit, please make sure to remove the following details from your submission:

  • Your name
  • Your photograph
  • Your supervisor’ s name – including where it is mentioned in citations.
  • Your university’s name, nickname, initial, photo and logo
  • Your student number
  • Your module or course name and code

You should either delete this information or replace it with an X or a short note such as “this citation has been redacted for anonymity.”

It is recommended that you do not drag black boxes over the details, as sometimes the black boxes
disappear if you highlight them, revealing the information.

Please take particular care with the following:

  • When referencing online articles via your institution library or website, please redact the name or initial of your institution i.e.
  • Acknowledgements – Exclude entirely or redact names, running headers or footers, ethic statements & declarations
  • Remove Institution Name
  • File name- when attaching your paper to the submission form, please use a generic file title. Do not include your own name or module code/name as the title of the .pdf or .doc
  • Interviews- When citing interviews you carried out ensure you write conducted by the author or similar. If referencing your supervisor, remember to redact the Institutionand your supervisor’s name

We understand that these redactions may make your work seem improperly cited, however our judges will understand that this has been done for the purposes of anonymity and will not penalise you.

We do not require entrants to redact: names of cities, countries, areas, geographical features, hospitals, schools etc.

Once your assignments are fully anonymous, and fulfill all the requirements, you can submit them by clicking the link here!

Category Spotlight: Psychology

The Psychology category has existed since the founding of The Undergraduate Awards in 2012.

This category is for students of Psychology, including Forensic Psychology, Health Psychology, Neuroscience, etc.

Entrants must submit an abstract of between 100-300 words long and the word count must be between 2,500 and 5,000 words.

In 2017, the category was won by Jordan Skrynka from the University of Dundee with her paper, “Hungry and Impulsive: Does blood glucose predict impulsivity for future rewards in a fasted state?”.

The judges were extremely impressed with Jordan’s essay, stating that her assignment:

Tackles an issue of recent theoretical importance with a nice design and sophisticated analysis. Certainly seems worthy of publishing in a top journal in the field.

In 2016 the category was won by Tan Jun Liang Jonathan from Nanyang Technological University with their essay, “Effects of Sleep on Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease” which gives a interesting examination on the factor structure of the PSQI in Coronary Heart Disease patients.

If you are an undergraduate Psychology student we would highly encourage you to submit your best assignments to The Undergraduate Awards before June 12th, which you can do by clicking the link here.

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