The UA Blog

Hello From UA: Dates for your calendar!

We have been relatively quiet on the social media front, but things are rarely quiet behind-the-scene.

As we approach mid-July, papers have now moved on to stage 2 of 4 of the 2017 Judging Process with our Judging Panels hard at work assessing this year’s top undergraduate projects and papers.

For the 2017 programme, we’ve gathered 337 notable academics from 144 institutions in 35 different countries for the world’s largest virtual academic judging process. The process generally runs from the end of June until the beginning of September and is divided into 4 stages.

Speaking about the Judging Process, Dr David Irwin, the 2016 Judging Chair of the Social Sciences: Anthropology & Cultural Studies category said:

One thing that struck me about the essays was the breadth of knowledge and the discipline of structure…I don’t like to use the word brilliant, but they truly were brilliant. Once we were down to the last ten we were wondering how we could separate perfection from perfection.


As the Judging Process comes to a close, the Highly Commended Entrants (the top 10%) of the 2017 Programme will be identified and announced on Friday, September 8, so do make sure to keep an eye out on all our social media! The Winner list will be announced shortly after.

Save the Date: The 2017 UA Global Summit

Every year, we bring together the brightest and most innovative students in the world for the UA Global Summit in Dublin, Ireland. A three-day event for the 2017 Global Winners and Highly Commended Entrants, they will have the opportunity to present their work and mix with a truly international group of similarly minded, high-potential scholars.

An exclusive event, only Global Winners in each of the 25 categories are guaranteed attendance, while Regional Winners and Highly Commended Entrants have the chance to purchase a limited number of tickets.

This year, the Global Summit will take place from the 7th – 9th November. Official invitations will be sent out once we have announced the Global Winners and Highly Commended Entrants. In the mean time, do save the dates for your diary!

Watch what the 2016 alumni have to say about last year’s Global Summit below:

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Marianne White

Marianne White from The University of Dundee was the Overall Winner of 2015 in the Nursing & Midwifery category.

Marianne White took interest in the human condition during travels around Africa, India, Australia and the Pacific and after seeing the way politics, poor infrastructure and health care had effected these regions. She received her title of Overall Winner in 2015 in the Nursing & Midwifery category with her paper “Does the provision of evidence based information or decision aids versus usual care for healthy pregnant women with previous caesarean deliveries increase the number of vaginal births in subsequent pregnancies?” After attending the global summit, White continued her hard work within a maternity unit in Scotland.

I came back to work with energy and a “thinking outside the box” type approach [in] the environment in which I work.

After being inspired at the summit and adopting a collaborative way of thinking, she has been seconded to the University of Dundee to work within a Research group. This study is working to gather information on women and service providers in her region.

We hope to investigate the factors which provide quality care and enhance the outcomes for women and newborns, determining how model of care used affects these perspectives or outcomes.

Outside of her research, White lives with her partner and two girls on their family farm. They stay busy keeping up the farm and spending their time outdoors.



Where Are They Now Wednesday: Jen Fullerton

Jen Fullerton, Highly Commended Entrant, paper artist and PhD candidate from the Australian National University, creates a set of sculptures reflecting online abuse of Australian politicians.

Since Jen Fullerton received the title of Highly Commended Entrant in 2014, Fullerton alongside social scientist Dr. Robert Ackland, have created pieces of sculpture with inspiration from the online social media platform Twitter. The large amount of Twitter abuse directed at Australian politicians influenced her works displayed at the ANU School of Art & Design Foyer Gallery.

The resulting work is part data visualisation and part social commentary – inspired and informed by data and expressed through the physicality and emotive language of sculpture.

Fullerton uses paper in this set of works particularly to show how an “old world medium” can reflect how online actions impact and are seen in the real world.

It helped me explore another aspect of the internet that wasn’t in my purview.

You can find out more about this project here and information about Fullerton and her other creations at


University of California, Berkeley ranks among world’s top six universities

We are delighted to hear that our Partner Institution, University of California, Berkeley, has once again joined five other world universities in a cluster known as the “elite six”.

The newly released Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2017 placed Berkeley sixth, after Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Cambridge, and Oxford. The reputation rankings are based on a survey of more than 10,000 academics worldwide and this is the seventh time Berkeley has placed in the “elite six.” The reputation rankings are separate from THE‘s annual World University Rankings, which come out in the fall.

Berkeley became a Partner Institution of The Undergraduate Awards in 2013 and since then they have had an active and enthusiastic involvement with the Programme. In the 2017 Programme, submissions from Berkeley increased by 26% more compared to 2016, placing them fourth on the Partners Leaderboard.

Previous Award Winner and Highly Commended Entrant from Berkeley included Ariel Hsian-Au Hsiung, who won the Human Rights category in 2011; and Matej Silecky, who was Highly Commended in the Gender Studies & Anthropology category in 2014 and recently formed a production company, Kitsune Tale Productions, LLC.

Ariel (Centre) receiving her medal at the 2011 UA Global Summit alongside fellow winners, Richard Sun (L) and David Molloy (R)

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Shelby Challis

Shelby Challis from the University of Toronto was a Highly Commended Entrant in the Social Science category for the 2014 Undergraduate Awards with her paper titled “The Macroeconomic and Socioeconomic Impact of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in South Africa”.

A recent alumnus of the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance where she completed her Master of Public Policy in 2016, Shelby was highly involved with the university’s publication and wrote several articles for them.

Her proudest piece was an article on the intersection between mental health and affordable housing, which you can read here. You can also check out her other articles here.

Outside of the university, Shelby is also busy travelling. She described her latest journey to Machu Picchu as “a trip of a lifetime”!

Since completing her Master, Shelby has worked as a Policy Advisor for Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Her policy area of interest includes healthcare finance and quality improvement, affordable housing and mental health and addiction.

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Killian Glynn and Where We Are Now Theatre Festival

Killian Glynn from the Institute Technology of Sligo was a Highly Commended Entrant in the Art History, Music, Film & Theatre category in the 2016 Undergraduate Awards, as well as our Campus Ambassador at IT Sligo for the academic year 2016/17.

Since then, Killian has been keeping busy with various projects. He is currently working on the Where Are We Now Theatre Festival which will open this Thursday, 8th June and run until Saturday, 10th June.

Discussing the inspiration behind the Festival, Killian said:

About three years ago, I had an idea to have a theatre event that was inclusive to the queer community within the northwest. It would be a staging of original writing and local directors and celebrate not just LGBT people in rural Ireland but both local and international artists. Where We Are Now is a festival by and about those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and everything in between!

But I needed help, so I proposed the idea to The Rabbit’s Riot Theatre Company, a production company based in the north-west of Ireland that aims to create thought-provoking and emotive theatre using both established and new writing.

Where We Are Now is a project that seeks to recognize and give an on-stage voice to members of rural communities in the Irish north-west. It is the first collaboration of its kind between writers from across the globe and Irish directors and actors within Co. Sligo.

This is not just an opportunity to support theatre in Ireland, where funding has been cut drastically over the past few years, but LGBTQ+ theatre in a part of the country where it is sorely needed.

You can check out their full programme on their website here, or keep an eye out for them on Facebook and Twitter for any updates!

And if you are interested in Killian’s writing, you can check out his work in The Rose Magazine here.

We wish Killian all the best with the festival and hopefully, we can catch a show as well!

The Engineering category

Engineering has been a category at The Undergraduate Awards since its inaugural year.

The category is open to all students of Engineering, including those of Computer and Systems Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering, Quantity Surveying, Construction, Built Environment and more.

Entries for this category must be within the 5,000-word limit and have received a 2.1/A grade.

In 2016, Sheng Rong Fang from Nanyang Technological University was the Global Winner of the category. His paper, titled “Development of Shape Memory Zirconia Particles and Powder Compacts“, was unanimously praised by the judges, who said:

It is an excellent and comprehensive piece of work. The submission presents the motivation and context of the work very clearly and the methodological rigour and effort undertaken were well noticed by all judges. The author has made attempts to develop a deep insight into the work and has summarised the findings clearly, while outlinging future works. As a piece of undergraduate research, it will continue to inspired.

Nikhil Jacob, the European Regional Winner of the Engineering category attended the UA Global Summit last November in Dublin, has some inspiring words to say about the experience.

With only 10 days left until the submission deadline for 2017, we look forward to reading all the new research in Engineering from undergraduate students around the globe.

If you are interested in submitting to the category, click here.

If you are interested in judging, click here.

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Padraig Conway

Padraig Conway from the National College of Arts & Design was a Highly Commended Entrant in 2014 in the Visual Arts category with his work titled “Online”. His work was also exhibited at “Aligned” as part of the 2015 Undergraduate Awards, which you can view here.

An established printmaker, Padraig has a passion for cultural heritage and the empowering capabilities of emerging technology and has been working on various projects. In 2016, he was invited to attend the World Archeological Congress 8 in Kyoto, Japan to present his paper, “Contemporary Expressions on the Nature of Megalithic Art”.

Most recently he completed a series of fine print works for the National Monuments Service/OPW which was on display at the Brú na Bóinne interpretive centre, New Grange, Co Meath, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The exhibition ended in February 2017.

The series, a scale edition of 14 unique art prints, was titled the “Cairn T Print Series”, based on the megalithic artworks located within Cairn T at the greater Loughcrew Cairns complex in County Meath. Talking about the inspiration behind his work, Padraig said:

Cairn T is most significant and notable for the fact that its inner chamber and the artwork of its backstone (C8) is illuminated on the Spring and Autumn equinoxes.

Researched by drawing and photography and designed with Adobe suite software including Photoshop and Illustrator. Created with the use of traditional printmaking techniques and the use of templates created with laser cut profile cutters. Crafted on Arches Reves, BFK, 100% cotton paper.

Below is a short animation by Padraig which illustrates the interaction of the equinoctial dawn sunlight with the petroglyphs on the Backstone ‘C8’ at Cairn T.


Padraig is looking to build on his experience with the use of 3D visualisation and spatial technologies in his future works, and we cannot wait to see what he will present next!

The Languages & Linguistics category

Languages & Linguistics was first judged as one category in The Undergraduate Awards in 2010.

The category is designed to incorporate students of all Languages and Linguistics disciplines, including Phonetics, Phonology, Sociolinguistics, Syntax and Pedagogy and more. Entries for this category must be within the 5,000-word limit and have received a 2.1/A grade.

Last year, Mary Wang from Western University was the Global Winner of the category with her paper titled “Does Developmental Social Pragmatic Intervention for Children With Autism Influence Parent Language Use?“. The judges praise the paper as “well written and carefully argued”, further commented that “it had all the elements that are necessary for a successful research article at any level”.

Speaking about her achievement, Mary commented

You can also listen to an interview with Mary on ‘Ontario Morning’, during which she explained the inspiration behind her research paper.

With the submission deadline getting closer, we are very excited to receive all the inventive research in the fields of Languages & Linguistics from undergraduate students from around the globe.

If you are interested in submitting to the category, click here.

If you are interested in judging, click here.

World’s Challenge Challenge Global Final to take place at Western University this May

Western University, a Partner Institution of the Undergraduate Awards, is partnering with some of the world’s best universities for the first international World’s Challenge Challenge in 2016-2017.

Students from participating partner universities will form diverse teams of three to bring ideas forward to address a global issue. Winning teams from each World’s Challenge Challenge partner institutions will present their solution at the Global Final at Western University, in May 2017, for a chance to win $30,000 (CAD). A second prize of $15,000 will also be available.

The World’s Challenge Challenge is an exciting way to engage in discussion and debate about world issues and to bring ideas from many different perspectives to the table. It also presents students with an opportunity to learn more about global issues or problem of interest to them; gain experience preparing and presenting compelling arguments in front of academic and community leaders, and make global connections with others who have a passion for changing the world.

Past winning projects from Western University

Partners institutions of the competition included the University of Alberta, University at Buffalo, Dalhousie University, University of Waterloo, Monash University, University of Otago, Radboud University, the University of Hong Kong and the University of British Columbia.

The finals will be live stream on May 31 from 9 am to 12:30 pm EST from the website here. To find out more about the competition and read more about this year’s Global Final, click here.

The Education category

The Education category has been in The Undergraduate Awards since its first year.

Students of all Education Theory and Practice disciplines, including Early Childhood Education, Adult Education, Philosophy of Education, History of Education and more are eligible to submit to the category.

Entries for this category must be within the 5,000-word limit and have received a 2.1/A grade.

The 2016 Global Winner of the Education category is Angelica Ng from Nanyang Technological University with her paper titled “Comparing Cyberbullying Perpetuation on Social Media Between Primary and Secondary School Students“. The judges commended the paper as “extremely well researched and well written”, saying:

The work was impressively organised, the literature review was both extensive and inclusive of recent studies in the field and the method of investigation was appropriate. The paper explored a major problem in schools – cyberbullying on social media – and reminded us of some strategies that, if implenmented, could negatively impact the continued perpetuation of cyberbullying.

Don’t forget, the deadline for submission this year is June 13th, and we look forward to reading new research in the fields of education from undergraduate students around the world.

If you are interested in submitting to the category, click here.

If you are interested in judging, click here.


Where Are They Now Wednesday: Charlotte Amrouche

Charlotte Amrouche from University College Dublin was a Regional Winner in 2016 in the Politics & International Relations category for her paper titled “Defining Violence Against Women as Terrorism”.

She was also a Highly Commended Entrant in the Gender Studies & Anthropology category in 2015.

Since then, she has been keeping herself busy with various projects. Charlotte is currently carrying out an independent research project on menstruation as part of her MA in Gender Studies at Utrecht University. Her research will focus on how “supportive, creative and empowering spaces can be created to discuss (and smash!) menstrual taboos“.

Charlotte will be putting her research into practice as she is organising an event for Menstrual Hygiene Day 2017 in Utrecht this coming Sunday, May 28th as the day is yet to be celebrated in the Netherlands. Speaking about the inspiration behind the event, Charlotte said:

The aim of the day is to raise awareness about the obstacles menstruators face, whilst also searching for solutions. I am very excited to bring the theoretical research that I collect into practice at the event.

I am passionate about menstrual activism and reusable menstrual products. Last month I organised a workshop at Utrecht University’s Green Office’s event on Sustainability and Activism. For this event I sourced samples of reusable pads, menstrual cups and sea sponges from an array of companies and demonstrated and provided information on this reusable options. It was a great event with a lot of positive feedback!

You can check out the event on Facebook here.

We wish Charlotte all the very best with her event and cannot wait to read her research!

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