The UA Blog

Hello From UA Partner Institutions: Considering your options for further study

As the Summer draws to a close, many of you may be considering your options for further study. Find out more about some of our Partner Institutions below!

King Abdulaziz University

On behalf of King Abdulaziz University (KAU), I would like to thank you for your participation in The Undergraduate Awards (UA) 2017, and I thank you for your valuable contribution. KAU is honoured to be an official Partner Institution and among the Affiliate Institutions of The Undergraduate Awards.

Briefly, KAU, founded in 1967, is located in Jeddah – a city on the coast of the Red Sea and one of the major urban centres of western Saudi Arabia. KAU is one of the distinguished universities in the Middle East and worldwide both for its quality of education and for its cutting edge research. KAU is committed to best practices in teaching, research, and innovations. Besides that, KAU has a well-coordinated distant learning program. To know more about the university, please visit us at:

Once again thanks for such a great contribution and we wish you the best of luck!

Prof. Abdul Rahman Alyoubi
President of King Abdulaziz University (KAU),
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Western University, Ontario

Congratulations on submitting your work to The Undergraduate Award 2017s. As a UA Partner Institution, Western University is proud to congratulate all of the amazing scholars whose work inspires, provokes thought and enhances collaboration across many fields and disciplines, and across diverse cultures and nations.

Founded in 1878, Western University is one of Canada’s oldest universities and a top destination for postgraduate studies with internationally renowned faculty members, world-class research facilities, and excellent scholarship opportunities. Western is home to 38,000 students, including 4,300 international students from 127 countries. Our worldwide alumni network is composed of global citizens whose education and leadership have propelled them to successful careers in Canada around the world.

We invite you to explore all Western University offers at or Once again, congratulations on your participation in The Undergraduate Awards.

Dublin Institute of Technology

At Dublin Institute of Technology, innovation is our tradition, and we have produced generations of leaders in a range of fields from business; law; tourism & hospitality; the creative and visual arts to engineering & the built environment.

Our lively City-Centre campuses are home to more than 20,000 students from Ireland and abroad, creating a culturally diverse and stimulating learning and research environment. Our new Grangegorman campus, currently under construction on a 73-acre site in the heart of Dublin city, is the most significant development of its kind in higher education in Ireland.

DIT is an enthusiastic supporter of The Undergraduate Awards which allow students from across our wide range of disciplines to see their work judged not only by DIT standards or by national standards, but also against the standards of their peers internationally. We look forward to meeting the 2017 Winners and Highly Commended Entrants and welcoming you all to DIT.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, a large number of international students and scholars are attracted to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. With approximately 1,200 international students from over 100 different countries, UT is committed to ensuring our campus is a welcoming environment where people are open to learning from one another.

Our Center for International Education (CIE) is the university’s hub for global education, research, and engagement activities. Our English Language Institute welcomes students for short- or longer-term intensive English language learning. The International House, the Confucius Institute, student organizations, and many other units also offer a wide range of internationally oriented activities.

We understand that committing to study at a university is about more than academics. It’s about finding the right place to call home. Our campus is located near downtown Knoxville, a thriving modern city with small town charm that is home to music venues, museums, galleries, annual festivals, local sports teams, excellent restaurants, craft breweries, and eclectic shops.

UT is also perfectly situated for outdoor enthusiasts with easy access to cycling, paddling, hiking, rock climbing, and other adventures. The Tennessee River runs by campus, which is just a few miles from Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, a system of more than 1,000 forested acres with over 50 miles of multiuse trails. Campus is also just a short drive away from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most-visited national park in the country.

To learn more about UT and our graduate programs, visit

Dublin City University

Dublin City University is delighted to partner with The Undergraduate Awards again this year and would like to wish every student the very best of luck with their submission.

DCU is a young, dynamic and ambitious university with a distinctive mission to transform lives and societies through education, research and innovation.

Recognised nationally and internationally as a centre of academic excellence, DCU has over 17,000 students across three campuses, DCU Glasnevin, DCU St Patrick’s Campus and DCU All Hallows.

We have an excellent reputation as Ireland’s university of Enterprise through strong, active links with academic, research and industry partners, both at home and overseas, providing limitless opportunities for our academic and student cohort.

Our Business School is internationally accredited in the top 5% of Business Schools in the world; we are recognised among the top 6% in the world for our technology, sciences and humanities disciplines and we are among the top 200 universities globally for modern languages.

Upcoming developments will include the launch of our new strategic plan, setting out the university’s roadmap until 2022 and the opening of our new state-of-the-art student centre scheduled for early 2018, which forms part of our ambitious infrastructural development.

For further information visit

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Diarmuid Bolger

Diarmuid Bolger from the University College Dublin (UCD) was a 2014 Highly Commended Entrant in the History category with his paper titled ‘Barbarians at the gate?’ How have revisionist schools of history challenged national myths?

When heard that he was named as one of the Highly Commended Entrants, Diarmuid was just about to graduate from his undergraduate degree and move into a Masters in Irish History in UCD, during which he was “incredibly lucky” to get to engage with his favourite area of Irish history – the history of sport in Ireland. This culminated in a thesis entitled ‘The Grumpy Archbishop’: John Charles McQuaid and the Yugoslavia Football Controversy.

During this time, Diarmuid also worked at the Little Museum of Dublin, a small and quaint museum based off of St Stephen’s Green, “telling the remarkable story of the Irish capital”. Talking about his experience, Diarmuid commented:

It was easily my favourite career move I have made so far. While here, I got to work with some amazing fellow interns and staff members, and also developed a very keen passion to work in the museum industry.

After leaving the museum, Diarmuid went on to work with the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery, the Aviva Stadium and now the National Museum of Ireland as a tour guide. He also gives occasional talks and short lectures around Dublin, most recently to a Swedish teaching organisation discussing 1916 and the centenary, and also conduct research for different scholars/members of the public.

At the beginning of last year, Diarmuid was accepted to do the MPhil in Public History and Cultural Heritage in Trinity College, Dublin, a prospect he is very excited about. Discussing his plan for the future, Diarmuid said:

[The Master] will involve writing another thesis, which I hope to aim around the 50th anniversity of the Anglo-Irish Truce, as a study of government sponsored commemorations and the controversies these can create. I am also, almost incredibly slowly, working on turning my old thesis into a book, an experience which is at times as painful as it is exhilarating. I am also debating working on a PhD in the future on Irish history, focusing on either women and sport in Ireland or the relationship between the Church and culture after partition.

Asides from works, Diarmuid is also returning to writing and performing stand-up comedy, which he has to abandon when begin writing his first thesis.

We cannot wait to read his new works, and wish him all the best in his future endeavours!

Hello From UA: The 2018 Programme is now open, and more dates for your diary!

As the Judging Process for the 2017 Programme is drawing to a close, we are excited to announce the launch of The Undergraduate Awards 2018 Programme!

The 2018 Programme is open to submissions from the class of 2017, 2018 and 2019. If you registered last year and did not submit, or already submitted last year but is still eligible, here is your chance to submit again! Each student can submit a maximum of three papers, and with 25 categories to choose from, you are spoiled for choices.

Don’t forget to make sure your papers meet all the UA Criteria before you submit. You can find our full Eligibility Guideline and Submission Criteria here.

Still unsure? You can just register to save a place now!

Deadline for the 2018 Programme is June 12, 2018.

Submit/register for The Undergraduate Awards 2018 Programme

2017 saw a record number of 6,432 submissions to The Undergraduate Awards and our Judging Pannellists have been hard at work evaluating all the papers. As the Judging Process comes to a close, the Highly Commended Entrants (top 10%) of the 2017 Programme will be identified and announced on September 12 on all our social media, so do keep an eye out! The Winner list will be revealed shortly after.

Save the Date: The 2017 UA Global Summit

With only over two months left until the 2017 edition of The Undergraduate Awards Global Summit, we cannot wait to meet all the 2017 Global Winners and Highly Commended Entrants!

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 November 7th – 9th. 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!

Want to know more about the Global Summit? Read Professor Owen Priest (Chair of the Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sciences category)’s wonderful account of the 2016 Global Summit.

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Lorraine Cleary

Lorraine Cleary was a 2014 Highly Commended Entrant in both the Visual Arts and the Media & the Arts category.

Her Visual Arts project, Mise en Scene, was part of our first art exhibition ALIGNED, which took place in 2015. You can check out her amazing work here.

After graduating from the Limerick School of Art and Design with a First Class Honours in Sculpture and Combine Media in 2014, Lorraine went on and obtained a Masters of Arts in Interactive Media with First Class Honours from the University of Limerick.

Lorraine is a multidisciplinary artist working in the mediums of sculpture, photography, experimental film, video, sound and performance. She has a specific interest in the everyday space, in particular, that of the domestic space; her work is constant in its “deliberation of the physical environment in relation to the observer’s movement within it”. Discussing the inspiration behind her works, she said:

My ongoing investigation into how the residue of a trauma can remain in a space long after that event has occurred is an important concept within my work. Ultimately space has the ability to absorb events, traumatic or otherwise, and with each onslaught of such an event that space is changed forever. Technology penetrates the very core of my work, interconnectivity is important in not just bringing the physical pieces of work together but in its invitation to the viewer, in its objective to make the viewer an integral part of that environment. Our changing social environment adapts to new technologies on an ongoing basis and this advancing technology emits heavy influence on our everyday lives. An ongoing concern between the everyday space and the online space emerges and the conflict between both serves as an inspiration in my work.

Lorraine’s most recent group exhibitions include ‘The Model presents Cairde Visual 2017’ at The Mall, Sligo and the ‘Winter Open Exhibition’ at Rua Red Gallery, Dublin. For more information and to check out her amazing works, you can visit Lorrain’s website here. We cannot wait to see more of her works!

“A memorable and rewarding experience”: Professor Owen Priest Reflects on the UA Global Summit 2016

Professor Owen Priest writes about his experience at the UA Global Summit 2016.

Professor Owen Priest is a Professor of Instruction in the chemistry department’s Organic Chemistry Division at Northwestern University. He has been a judge with The Undergraduate Awards since 2014, and this is the second year he has served as the Chair of the Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sciences category. Below, Professor Priest gives his account of attending the UA Global Summit in Dublin last November.

I was teaching last fall so, to attend the summit, I had to rearrange my schedule a little and ask some colleagues if they could help cover a few assignments for me. I am so glad I made an effort to attend because it was a memorable and rewarding experience.

There were some delays with my flight from the U.S. to Dublin (onboard electrical fires while over the Atlantic will do that) so I missed some of the student presentations on the opening day of the summit. I’m glad I was able to catch the tail of the presentations because I was able to see students from other divisions showcase their talent and creativity. Because I had read chemical and pharmaceutical science papers for a few years, I was familiar with the astounding level of talent exhibited by the students in my division. Watching the students from other divisions present their work was a humbling experience.

Professor Owen Priest chatting to Christopher Ginou, 2016 Highly Commended Entrant in the Politics & International Relations category

After a few hours to rest and get cleaned up, I was taken to the opening dinner. At one point, all the judges who were in attendance were introduced and we had an informal panel discussion with all of the students. This was really the first chance that the students were able to see some of the people who had worked behind the scenes. After dinner, I was able to mingle and talk with students. I had such a good time that I didn’t notice the hall had nearly emptied out.

Professor Priest at his breakout session

The following morning was the colloquium which took place in Farmleigh House. I learned that Farmleigh Hous is the ancestral home of the Guinness family. Because Ireland’s president uses Farmleigh House to host visiting dignitaries and guests, it has earned a nickname – The White House of Ireland. Throughout the day we heard inspirational presentations and could attend (or host our own) breakout sessions. At one point, I took a break and just wandered around the house and the surrounding estate. It was a little hard to believe we were spending the day hanging out with the undergraduates in a stately mansion where the only rule we were given was “DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING”. I felt like we were participating in the filming of an episode of Downton Abbey: The Promise of a New Generation.

After being transported back to the hotel and changing into formal attire, I attended the awards ceremony, which was opened by the Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Professor Priest with David Evans, 2016 Global Winner of the Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sciences category

Finally, after the students received their awards, we walked over to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where we sat at dramatically long tables and ate with the students. Throughout the evening, it felt like Dumbledore could appear at any minute with the sorting hat, and we would all have to switch seats. It was a day/night to remember.

I am attending the summit this fall and look forward to meeting those of you who will also be there.

Where Are They Now Wednesday: David Mak

David Mak was a Highly Commended Entrant in the Life Science category in 2015 with his paper titled “Effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and adolescent stress on the immune response to challenge: Profiling cytokine expression patterns in multiple tissues”.

Currently, David is in his second year of medical school at the University of British Columbia, where he is involved in clinical research in the fields of stroke neurology and radiology, and in basic science research in the fields of developmental neuroscience, immunology, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

Since being involved with UA, David has taken his research further. Speaking about his plan, David said:

I have had wonderful and numerous opportunities to present my work (the same one I submitted to UA!), the most exciting ones being the Canadian Association of Neuroscience Conference in 2015 and the Canadian National Medical Student Research Symposium in 2016. I have also been able to network with other inspiring UA alumni to discuss potential opportunities to further my stroke research in Edinburgh and Manchester!

Despite his busy academic schedule, David is involved with many different community organizations and activities. He is a member of a hip-hop group and is involved in a Teddy Bear Clinic, where they reach out to community daycares and elementary schools and essentially “play doctor” with young children, with the hopes of relieving any potential anxiety and fear associated with physicians, and to promote a positive physician-patient relationship right from a young age.

He is also a Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Air Force Reserves and currently work as a training officer with a local squadron of Air Cadets and at a provincial training center on Vancouver Island, and as a movement and transport officer at Vancouver International Airport.

In his free time, David loves spending time outdoors in the beautiful British Columbia, from skiing in the winter, to hiking in the summer. He enjoys playing violin and piano, hanging out with friends and family, and playing badminton!

Talking about his future plans, David said:

I am currently interested in pursuing a medical career either in neurology or family medicine. I look forward to meeting more fantastic and inspiring undergraduates and UA alumni!

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Casimir Legrand

Casimir Legrand is a 2016 Highly Commended Entrant in the Politics & International Relations category. Since then, he has been occupied with different exciting projects and opportunities.

Casimir Legrand, middle, at a function during his time at St Andrews

Excitingly, his Highly Commended paper “Scope, Methodology and Systemic Failure of the jus cogens Mechanism: The Disconnect between Morality, State Sovereignty, and Autonomy” will be featured in the fourth edition of the University of Toronto’s Undergraduate Law Journal, Intra Vires. The paper was originally submitted for credit in an International Law module Cas took while he was on a full-year exchange at the University of St Andrews.

Cas has recently completed his Honours Bachelor of Arts in International Relations at Trinity College in the University of Toronto. This summer, he is interning for the Donner Canadian Foundation, a Canadian/American public policy organisation that focuses on professional grant making towards international development, social services, and public policy research projects.

After finishing his internship this month. Cas will pursue a Dual Master’s degree in International Affairs offered jointly by Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs in Paris, France and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in London, UK.

Talking about the motivation behind his studies, Cas said:

As an international relations scholar, I have developed an interest in global politics and global governance, with an emphasis on the diplomatic and normative frameworks of multilateral forums and international institutions. Specifically, I am interested as to why nations continue to rely on them to navigate international issues and how underlying principles such as social justice, democratization, and transparency work towards supporting their claims to legitimacy.

We wish him all the best of luck with his Masters and his future projects!

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Broy Lim & “and now they know”

Broy Lim from Nanyang Technological University is a 2016 Highly Commended Entrant in the Visual Arts category with his project and now they know.

Lim was recently chosen as one of eight Asian artists to be awarded the inaugural Steidl Book Award Asia, where winners get to publish with the renown photo book publisher. The project, and now they know, is an intimate exploration of Lim’s realisation of his homosexuality in his hometown of Singapore, where it still remains illegal. Combining personal texts and photos, it “narrates Lim’s sexual identity and his nine-year relationship with his partner, while also representing the broader struggle of many youths who navigate their sense of self in conservative heteronormative societies”.

Speaking to Straits Time about the project, Lim said: “This project seeks to reconcile my identities as a son and a lover, in a language that could most potently express my struggles – the language of photography. Through this work, I want to tell the people around me that this is who I am, without having to say a single word.”

Lim’s book is set to be released in July and you can find out more about it on the Steidl website here.

At the moment, Lim is working freelance as an educator, teaching subjects ranging from arts to photography to life skills.

Check out his Behance profile here.

Where Are They Now: Giulia Luzi

Giulia Luzi with the piece “Hugo Chávez and the media’ How was the media used to influence public opinion on Chávez and his government?” won the Media & Journalism category in 2015. Now she continues to advance within the organisation Search for Common Ground.

As a student at Dublin City University, Giulia Luzi was interested in different cultures and the interactions between them. After graduation Giulia began an internship for the European Affairs and Partnership Team of Search for Common Ground. This NGO works with 36 countries around the world on peace building and conflict transformation. After her internship, she remained in the same organisation and has since held two different positions.

On the Africa team, Giulia worked on a project that encompassed “better working relationships between civil society organisations and government authorities in Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria.” After this, she was promoted to the position of European Affairs and Partnerships Associate, the position who supervised her during her internship. Currently she works with fundraising and policy matters and liaising with European field offices.  

Giulia reflects on her travels at the time of the UA Global Summit in 2015 how they were limited within Europe, however she has gotten the opportunity to see more of the world since.

I have travelled to Tanzania, Zanzibar, Washington DC, New York, Boston, Cuba and Rwanda both thanks to my job and for fun. In the near future, I would like to pursue further studies in the field of conflict analysis and resolution, and to travel to Latin America.

Giulia plans to Master in Conflict, Security and Development at Sussex University in 2018.

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


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