Alumni News

Judging Chair Spotlight: Dr Cody Barteet

Dr. Cody Barteet is currently the Undergraduate Chair for the Department of Visual Arts in Western University. He began his academic career in the College of Charleston, and continued on to complete his Ph.D in Art History in Binghamton University (SUNY) in 2007.

Barteet’s research focuses on Early Modern Art and Architecture in Latin America and Europe. He explores the relationships between the architecture and the urban form, maps and urban environments, and heraldic imagery and legislative materials, and investigates how these various contexts relate to the formation of identities, whether state, individual, gendered, or indigenous.

His teaching reflects his research interest as his courses analyse the visual cultures of pre-Columbian Americas, Hispanic America, and Early Modern Europe, as well as graduate seminars on the city, monuments, and race and gender.

If you would like to read one of Barteet’s works, check out this paper: Maya Heraldic Arms: The Merging of Spanish and Maya Visual Cultures in the Memorial Shield to the Massacre at Otzmal.

Barteet is now the Judging Chair for the Art History category. If you would like to check out some of our past papers then follow this link!

Presidential Garden Party 2018

On the 1st of July 2018, representatives of The Undergraduate Awards joined President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins for the Patrons Presidential Concert Garden Party at Áras an Uachtaráin.

 The Garden Party was attended by a number of the organisations of which Michael D. Higgins is a patron, with people from all around Ireland coming together to celebrate and recognise their hard work. There was an amazing atmosphere and incredible music by talented Irish artists. If you would like to hear President Higgins’ speech from the event please click here.

Higgins was inaugurated as President of Ireland at Dublin Castle on 11 November 2011. Since then, President Higgins has honourably and passionately represented Ireland to the world. He is a strong advocate for the Irish language and culture and attends many Irish sporting events. He has been outspoken in his support for education and the arts and has actively spoken on the dangers of climate change and global warming.

President Higgins has been a patron of The Undergraduate Awards since its founding ten years ago. We had the honour of welcoming him The UA Global Summit in 2015, on the fourth anniversary of his presidency. Speaking to a captive audience, President Higgins emphasised the importance of celebrating the hard work done by third level students across the world:

The Undergraduate Awards celebrate original and creative thinking among students, and the need for such critical thinking has never been greater.

We at The Undergraduate Awards welcomed the news that President Higgins will be running for a second term as the President of Ireland. We believe that President Higgins has represented Ireland magnificently over the past seven years, and we support him in his endeavour to continue to represent our wonderful country for another term.
 

Judging Chair Spotlight: Prof. Owen P. Priest

Owen Priest is presently a Professor of Instruction in the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, USA.  His career in teaching began thirty years ago when he taught high school chemistry and physics, first in Vermont and then in Massachusetts.  After four years of teaching at the high school level, his love of teaching and chemistry led him to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, where he studied under Professor Thomas R. Hoye.

 As a member of the Hoye group, Professor Priest trained as a natural products synthetic organic chemist and was a member of the team that was one of the first to carry out the total synthesis of Michellamines A, B, & C.  After completing his doctoral work, Professor Priest taught at Grinnell College as well as Hobart and William Smith Colleges before joining the faculty at Northwestern University.

After serving as the university’s Director of Undergraduate Organic Laboratories for thirteen years, Priest became a Professor of Instruction and continues to teach organic chemistry classes as well as upper-level courses for chemistry majors.  He has been recognized for his teaching, has served on executive committees within the American Chemical Society (ACS), and has served as the Committee Chair for the American Chemical Society’s LGBT Chemists and Allies committee. He has served on committees that have written exams for the ACS Exams Institute, including a term as the Committee Chair for the American Chemical Society’s 2014 First-Term Organic Chemistry Exam.  In 2014, as they were preparing to celebrate their 175th anniversary, the Royal Society of Chemistry selected Priest as one of the 175 faces representing diversity in the chemical sciences. 

We at The Undergraduate Awards thank Prof. Priest for his work as Judging Chair of the Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sciences category thus far.

Past papers of Global Winners and Highly Commended Entrants to the Chemical & Pharmaceutical Science category can be found here.

The Global Undergraduate Summit 2018

We at The Undergraduate Awards are pleased to announce that The Global Undergraduate Summit will be taking place from the 12th – 14th of November 2018 in Croke Park Stadium, Dublin.

As the home of Ireland’s largest sporting and cultural organisation, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) – Croke Park is the cultural home of  traditional Irish sport, and has played host to iconic moments in Irish sport & history and to major cultural and international events.

Since 1891 Croke Park has been used primarily by the GAA to host Gaelic games, most notably the annual All-Ireland finals in football and hurling. Both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2003 Special Olympics, as well as numerous music concerts by major international acts, have been held in the stadium. Following a redevelopment programme started in the 1990s, Croke Park has a capacity of 82,300, making it the third largest stadium in Europe.

The Global  Undergraduate Summit has had the pleasure of hosting inspiring speakers from all over the world. In 2017, we had the honour of welcoming Chris Lubbe, who is the former bodyguard of Nelson Mandela and an inspirational speaker. We also had the honour of welcoming author, human rights campaigner and International Woman of the Year 2006, Zerbanoo Gifford.

This year, The Global Undergraduate Summit shall be changing to be bigger and better than ever before. We shall be exploring different themes and topics, such as the concept of smart cities, robotics and the future of work, data privacy and the rise of fake news, and much more.

Details on tickets and guest speakers will be released closer to the date. We are looking forward to welcoming speakers and academics from all over the world to Dublin, Ireland.

 

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Ali Greenholt

Ali Greenholt was a 2016 highly commended entrant in the Social Science: Anthropology & Cultural Studies category for her paper titled, “A Masculinity Problem in the ‘Gender Equal’ Nation of Sweden,” in which she argued that Sweden’s political parties employ problematic masculinities under the guise of gender equal policy-making and that the country’s masculine social construct is tied to a sometimes discriminatory and violent nationalist identity.

Since attending the Undergraduate Awards Global Summit in November 2016, she graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in nonfiction writing. Her senior project was a longform essay about the inequalities in Pittsburgh’s food system and the players (chefs, farmers, grocers, and nonprofits) who are trying to make it more sustainable, a topic that she feels incredibly passionate about.

After graduating, she and her partner spent a month living out of their car while camping and backpacking in the southwestern US. Her favorite part of the trip was reaching the Colorado River at the base of the Grand Canyon and – oddly enough – the grueling hike up out of the canyon the following day, admitting that it was a simultaneously humbling and empowering experience.

Now back in Pittsburgh, Ali is working at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health as part of the administrative team in the Department of Health Policy and Management, where she primarily functions as a liaison between hospital executives and students during the residency matching process. She’s soon starting two other positions – one as farmers market staff for Who Cooks For You Farm, an organic farm located north of the city, and the other as events staff for Threadbare Cider and its sister company, Wigle Whiskey, the first distillery in Pittsburgh since Prohibition.

Ali’s several jobs are all in an effort to return to school in the fall. She will be attending Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs to pursue a Master of International Development, majoring in urban affairs and planning. She eventually wants to work for a consulting firm or advocacy organization that connects community members with city governments and developers to create equitable, sustainable urban planning solutions. Ali views her trip to the UA Global Summit as formative and influential in this decision, remembering her team’s discussion during UCollaborate, which was summarized as “We lack empathy, so let’s build a garden.”

Ali was inspired and impressed at the UA Global Summit, naming it as

one of the highlights of my academic career thus far, and I hope that my fellow UA alum, if ever in the Pittsburgh area, know that they have a friend, colleague, and place to stay in the “Paris of Appalachia.”

We at The Undergraduate Awards wish Ali all the best in her future endeavours!

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Annelies Van de Ven

In 2013, Annelies Van de Ven from the University of St. Andrews was Highly Commended for her paper entitled “Pompeii Uncovered: A History of Repression“.

When Annelies submitted her paper to the Undergraduate Awards she was finishing up an MA in Archaeology and Museology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Flash forward to the present and she is now living in London and has a post-doc in Belgium lined up for October. While it may not seem like she moved very far, in the intervening 5 years she completed a PhD in Archaeology and Museology at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

Besides writing her PhD thesis, in her four years out in Australia, she engaged in a number of other projects. She helped curate several exhibitions in Melbourne focusing on the ancient world from a variety of different approaches. In August of 2017 she was even able to curate her first solo exhibition at the University of Melbourne using the Mesopotamian cast collection. Her aim was to teach visitors about Mesopotamian power structures while showing the usefulness of these kinds of cast collections in modern universities.

Annelies has also taught students at all levels about archaeology and history. Her favourite formal teaching experience was acting as tutor for students in Practical Archaeology. Through a collaboration that she set up with a local commercial firm, she was able to bring the students into the field to excavate a real historical site in the heart of Melbourne. Annelies loves sharing her passion for fieldwork and seeing students put their hard-earned theoretical knowledge into practice.

Since submitting her thesis, Annelies has worked on several excavations: in Israel, Georgia, Australia and Iraq. She has also travelled for her research, primarily to Iran.

Fieldwork is a strange bubble, that sometimes feels very removed from reality, but the experience of physically uncovering the stories of people who lived in the past is unique, and worth all the difficulty of obtaining visas and taking long flights.

The main thing she loves is getting to meet so many people from all different countries, cultures and backgrounds. She has learned so much just by talking to others about how they view history. After all archaeology isn’t just about artefacts or architecture, ultimately it is about people who are making connections to their environments and one another, even across large spans of time and space.

Annelies has also worked with a number of amazing collaborators in the field of museum and archaeology outreach, helping to facilitate hands-on public events, as well as school-based engagement projects. At the moment, she is working with project leader Sharyn Volk to deliver a captivating mini-curriculum on the Ancient World to secondary school students in rural Victoria, Australia. Using digital humanities and object-based-learning strategies to bring the past to life we provide complementary ways to learn and engage with a subject that has conventionally been seen as solely book-based.

In the future Annelies hopes to open up archaeology to an even wider public, exploring its complexity in a way that is accessible and engaging. Annelies states,

I am fascinated by how people are able to recast, reinterpret and reassemble elements of the past in order to create a sense of history and identity. I think that by better understanding each other’s processes for doing this, we are also more likely to approach one another with tolerance and kindness; fostering archaeology, and the collections it produces, as a platform for discussion and growth to help counter societal tensions around deprecation and distrust.

So far, even with a very curvy road behind her, Annelies feels like she is on the right track. Hopefully the next few years of her career will keep bring her interesting opportunities, so she can keep learning, enriching her skills, and sharing her passion with others.

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Brittany Comunale

Brittany Comunale from Brown University was Highly Commended in the 2016 Psychology category for her paper “The Effect of Exit Familiarity and Social Influence on Evacuation Behavior.”

Brittany currently resides in San Diego, California, USA, where she works as a Clinical Research Coordinator for a private medical group. In the fall, she will begin her second year as an MPH student at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Since graduating from Brown in 2016, Brittany also: earned her MBA from Creighton University, presented research at the Association for Psychological Science’s annual convention, and published three articles in academic journals.

At Dartmouth, Brittany is developing a model that will help medical providers build trust with their patients, which will in turn improve continuity of care and minimize disparities. Brittany’s main professional goal is to bring about disruptive change in the healthcare system that will improve the perception of healthcare professionals and how they interact with their patients.

When she is not conducting research or writing academic papers, Brittany enjoys traveling and photographing her surroundings. To date, she has exhibited her work at galleries in more than fifty countries. Recently, her photographs have been honored at: The International Photographer of the Year Awards, The International Biennial of Photography, The International Color Awards (formerly known as the Photography Masters Cup), Prix de la Photographie Paris, and The Tokyo International Photo Awards.

Brittany notes,

submitting my work to The Undergraduate Awards was one of the most influential decisions I have made in my academic career. It has not only helped me reflect upon and appreciate the work I completed at Brown, but it has also given me a strong sense of achievement. The Undergraduate Awards have motivated me to continue sharing my work with others. This experience has encouraged me to keep a positive attitude in everything I do.

We at The Undergraduate Awards wish Brittany all the best in her future endeavours.

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!

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