Alumni News

Irish Graduate Named on TIME Magazine’s list of Next Generation Leaders

Simple ideas are always simple once somebody else has thought of them.

Food Cloud is a simple app platform that is connecting those wasting good food in Ireland with those charities and community groups trying to feed people around the country. Their idea is one that resonated with us – it’s a start-up that will have a direct impact on the people’s lives. We all know about the vast levels of food wastage in the developed world. In order to realise one only has to look at what you throw out of your own fridge and then do the sums. We also know the amount of people that suffer from malnutrition or hunger in Ireland alone (450,000 suffer from food poverty in Ireland, according to Foodcloud’s website).

An example of their recent success is the partnership Foodcloud announced with Tesco, Ireland’s largest grocery store chain. The food wastage from their stores is now being redirected to charities who are able to distribute it to people in need through the app which alerts each party of what is available for collection at the end of trading.

Earlier this year at the Web Summit Iseult Ward, co-founder of Foodcloud, presented from the Food Summit stage in Herbert Park after it was vacated by ex-Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria. Sharing stages with stars is somewhere Ward is finding herself more and more these days as Time Magazine just named her on their list of ‘Next Generation Leaders’.

TIME’s list includes young leaders from around the world, including scientists, entrepreneurs and journalists from countries like Thailand, South Africa and Brazil. Ward is the only Irish person to feature on this elite list. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin’s BESS program in 2013 with a degree in Business and Economics and since then has developed Food Cloud with co-founder Aoibheann O’Brien, also a recent graduate from Trinity. They participated in the Trinity College Dublin Launchbox accelerator program, designed to help student companies get off the ground.

Since launching the non-profit food sharing service in October 2013, FoodCloud has grown to facilitate distribution of more than a tonne of surplus food everyday, “Foodcloud has discovered that businesses across Ireland have a huge appetite for donation their excess food.”

According to TIME, the seven people chosen as Next Generation Leaders “have not just succeeded in their fields but have also persuaded others to share their vision.”

This is not the only recognition Ward and O’Brien have got since they launched Foodcloud. They also won the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland’s Impact Award, which will help them fund the next phase of development for their organisation.

For more information on FoodCloud, please see

To watch Iseult Ward’s Q&A with TIME:


Foodcloud on TIME





Nature Award for ‘Mentoring in Science’ at Science Foundation Ireland’s Summit 2014

Professor of Comparative Immunology at Trinity College Dublin, Cliona O’Farrelly, has won a 2014 Nature Award for Mentoring in Science at Science Foundation Ireland’s 2014 Summit. The leading international journal Nature hosts these awards on an annual basis to champion the importance of mentoring and inspiring future generations of young researchers.

Professor O’Farrelly’s achievements were to bring together various disciplines across the scientific spectrum in both human and veterinary clinical sciences, to better understand immunology and infectious diseases. Her research group has been successful in describing unique immunological features and functions in the human gut, liver and uterus.

Professor O’Farrelly said: “It’s so humbling that the students who have gone through my lab think I deserve this.  One of life’s great privileges is to be given the opportunity to work with bright, enthusiastic young scientists.”

“It is Professor O’Farrelly’s exceptional ability to teach, mentor and nurture confidence that has impacted a generation of students and researchers,” said Nigel Stevenson, Assistant Professor in Immunology at Trinity.

Meanwhile, Lydia Lynch, Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston, added: “She encourages young girls in school and young women in college, as well as older mature students returning to the workforce, to realise their dreams. It is because of female leaders in science – like Cliona – that young women feel that being a leader is an achievable goal.”

Editor-in-Chief of Nature, Philip Campbell, said: “In an era when laboratories are under great pressure to be competitive, it is essential that they maintain the technical robustness and ethical integrity of their science, while also empowering creativity. Thus the mentoring of young researchers has never been more important. And good mentoring by laboratory heads is not a skill that can be taken for granted.”

More information about the Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science is available here.  Information on Trinity’s School of Immunology is available here.

The World’s Top Students land in Dublin Today

Over 100 of the world’s top students are landing in Dublin City this morning to attend the UA Global Summit 2014. Represented in Dublin throughout the Summit will be 50 universities across 5 continents. Students from Singapore, Hong Kong, The United States, Nigeria, Canada, Australia and across Europe will join Irish attendees today to launch the Global Summit at the Opening Ceremony in City Hall.

Throughout the 3 days the students will visit various historic venues (schedule here) and meet an array of inspiring thought leaders (list of Speakers) in order to encourage, collaborate and connect with each other during this unique event.

The winning essays this year are as widely diverse as ever and range from essays on David Foster Wallace, Giftedness, Architecture  to Selfies, One Direction, Tinder and The Hunger Games! We are so excited to meet these young talented, bright-sparks.  Let the Summit begin!

Trinity College Dublin News

Our partner university Trinity College Dublin is recognized for academic excellence and innovative approach to research. With a tradition of scholarship for more than four decades Trinity is home to talented and inquiring minds, a liberal education and research conducted at the frontiers of disciplines.  With this in mind, here is some of the latest news in research from the Trinity College campus:


Trinity’s New Undergraduate Scholarship and Online Presence for China

Trinity College Dublin has announced the establishment of the Trinity Global Undergraduate Scholarship for China, a new scholarship which will support a prospective Chinese undergraduate student to study at Trinity College Dublin.

Read more here.

Women Improve Driving More than Men Following ‘Black Box’ Feedback

A cross border road safety study using the latest ‘black box’ telematics technology has found that, after training and when presented with relevant feedback, the driving behaviour of young women motorists improves significantly more than that of young men.

Read more here.


Scientists Discover New Gene involved in Motor Neuron Disease

Irish scientists from Trinity involved in ground breaking international study which may help with the development of new treatments for MND.

Read more here.


Further information on studying at Trinity College Dublin can be found here.

A 1st for Everything… The Countdown!

The UA Global Summit is only a month away.  We are getting very excited/busy here at UA headquarters and we thought a countdown would be in order.

Firstly,  The Undergraduate Awards is incredibly pleased to announce six new Affiliate Universities! We are delighted to welcome to our programme; the Universidade Estadual Paulista, our first Affiliate University on the continent of South America; Qatar University, our first Affiliate University from the League of Islamic Universities and Universidade Panamericana, our first Affiliate University in Mexico. The University of Newcastle Australia, the University of California Riverside, and the University of Calgary accompany them, joining a network of over 100 academic institutions from around the globe in their celebration of undergraduate work.

We will be hosting this year’s Summit across five historical venues around Dublin City; The Rotunda at Dublin’s City Hall;  Iveagh House, the Department of Foreign Affairs; Farmleigh House, originally owned by the famous Guinness Family; Science Gallery, located in Trinity College Dublin, and Christchurch Cathedral.

We are counting down four weeks to go to the UA Global Summit 2014, when we will be meeting our Winners and Highly Commended entrants in Dublin!  Take a look at our schedule here.

The Undergraduate Awards is also delighted to announce three new University Partners; the University of California Berkeley, the University of St. Andrews, and Trinity College Dublin.  By joining the University Partner programme, these prestigious universities benefit from increased participation in the Undergraduate Awards, gaining access to unique opportunities including a presence at the UA Global Summit. More information on our University Partner programme can be found here.

We have two awards programmes in which our winners submit.  The International programme and the Irish programme.  You can see a list of the 25 categories here.

Finally, there’s a 1st for everything: This is the first year in which we have affiliate Universities on the continents of South America, in the League of Islamic Universities and also in Mexico. We are very much looking forward to working with our new affiliate universities over the coming months, and making 2015 our biggest year ever!

Winners 2014

Assessed by panels of international academics, two winners were selected per academic category – an international winner and a winner from the island of Ireland.  The overall winner will be published in The Undergraduate Awards Academic Journal.

If you see your name on the list below, please expect a call from us at some stage today. Congratulations! We look forward to seeing you all in Dublin on the November 19th!


  • Overall Winner: Andrew Jobling, Durham University
  • Winning Paper: BP in Russia: Analysis of the TNK-BP Failure
  • Island of Ireland Winner –  Tadhg Giles, Trinity College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: Capital Flight & the Case of Panama

Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sciences

  • Overall Winner: Helen Farrants, University of Edinburgh
  • Winning Paper: Developing a Mitochondria-Targeting Azide-Based 1,8-Naphthalimide Probe for Hydrogen Sulfide Sensing
  • Island of Ireland Winner – David Jones, University College Cork
  • Winning Paper:  Preliminary Investigation into the Optimization of Sample Systems for the Study of the Vinyl Substitution Reactions of 3(2H)-Furanones

Classical Studies & Archaeology

  • Overall Winner: Joe Thompson, University of Edinburgh
  • Winning Paper: Discuss the Evidence (both direct and inferred) for Clothing in the British Palaeolithic
  • Island of Ireland Winner – Louisa Brophy Browne, National University of Ireland Galway
  • Winning Paper: Discuss and Evaluate the Main Points of the Debate on the Ethics of Archaeological Work in War Zones and Occupied Territories Using Case Studies.

Computer Sciences & Information Technology

  • Overall Winner: Jack Fitzsimons, Trinity College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: Identifying Abandoned, Moved and Removed Objects in Automated Surveillance Systems
  • International Winner – Himel Dev, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology
  • Winning Paper: User Interaction Based Community Detection in Online Social Networks

Cultural Studies

  • Overall Winner: Carly Welham, University of British Columbia
  • Winning Paper: Selfies’ vs ‘Sealfies’: Inuit Subsistence Hunting, Food Insecurity, and Animal Rights
  • Island of Ireland Winner – Ruth Daly, Maynooth University
  • Winning Paper: Why Restorative Justice is Best Practice: The Simultaneous Pursuit of Justice and Peace in Post-Genocide Rwanda


  • Overall Winner: Sinead Mc Loughlin, Dublin Institute of Technology
  • Winning Piece: Enclosure and Difference. How to Create an Architecture that is under Common Skies and before Divided Horizons
  • International Winner – Andy Lim, Nanyang Technological University
  • Winning Piece: The Mnemonics Kit

Earth & Environmental Sciences

  • Overall Winner: Victoria Ponce Hardy, University of Edinburgh
  • Winning Paper: Investigating Environmental Justice in Glasgow: 1899-2003. A GIS and Statistical Analysis of Air Quality and Social Deprivation in Glasgow
  • Island of Ireland Winner – Susannah Finn, Trinity College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: Meta-Analysis of Grain Yield and N Dynamics of Legumes in Cereal Systems


  • Overall Winner: Pierce Healy, Trinity College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: An Investigation into the Momentum Anomaly in the Market for Bitcoin
  • International Winner – Justin Katiraei, Harvard University
  • Winning Paper: The Suitability of Headline Unemployment (U3) in Federal Reserve Policy


  • Overall Winner: Sarah Martin, McGill University
  • Winning Paper: What is Giftedness?
  • Island of Ireland Winner – Megan Turner, St Mary’s University College
  • Winning Paper: “Mind and Memory, Understanding and Delight” Views of Literature and Memory in Education

Engineering & Mechanical Sciences

  • Overall Winner: Kim Siang Ong, Nanyang Technological University
  • Winning Paper: Aerodynamic Data Generation and Design Support for Solar UAV – Wind Tunnel Testing
  • Island of Ireland Winner – Fiona Malone, University of Limerick
  • Winning Paper: The Automated Decellularisation of Ovine and Porcine Biological Tissues: A Prelimenary Investigation

Historical Studies

  • Overall Winner: Daniel McKay, Australian National University
  • Winning Paper: Dust and Bluster: An Historical Evaluation of the Political Discourse on Drought in Australia
  • Island of Ireland Winner – Ciarán Quinn,  University Belfast
  • Winning Paper: How did the Irish Free State’s Efforts to Regulate Sexuality (And its Motivations for Doing So) Compare with Trends Elsewhere in Interwar Europe?

International Relations & Politics

  • Overall Winner: Anneloes Hoff, Utrecht University
  • Winning Paper: Interest Representation in the IMCO Committee’s Amendments: The Influence of MEPs’ Political Ideology and Role in the Legislative Process
  • Island of Ireland Winner – James Pow, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Winning Paper: Still Rising: The Career Politician in the British House of Commons, the Cabinet and the Shadow Cabinet

Irish Language

  • Overall Winner: John Woods, University College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: “Ba Mar Chaomhnóir Oidhreachta agus Oide Teagaisc a d’Fheidmigh Antoine Raiftearaí”. Léirmheas a Scríobh ar Fhilíocht Raiftearaí agus an Tuairim sin mar Bhunús na Haiste

Languages & Linguistics

  • Overall Winner: Sandra Lukic, University of Edinburgh
  • Winning Paper: A Slovene to Serbians, a Serb to Slovenes. First Language Attrition: Differences Between the First and the Second Generation of Serbian-Slovene Bilinguals
  • Island of Ireland Winner – Tracy O’Connor, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Winning Paper:  To What Extent can the Poetry of Borja da Costa be Seen as Promoting the Idea of a Common National Identity?


  • Overall Winner: Elena Butti, Utrecht University
  • Winning Paper: Children’s Rites: Examining the Role of Local Justice in the Ugandan Transitional Justice Process through a Child Rights Approach
  • Island of Ireland Winner – Kyrsten Baker, Trinity College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: Sexual Offender Notification Schemes: A Product of ‘New Penology’ and Populist Punitiveness and Inadequate to Tackle the Issue of Sexual Offending

Life Sciences

  • Overall Winner: Siddharth Krishnan, University of Manchester
  • Winning Paper: Investigating the Role of LRRTM3 in Alzheimer’s Disease: The Characterisation of an LRRTM3 Knock-Out Mouse Model
  • Island of Ireland Winner – Maran Lowry, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Winning Paper: Assessing the Escapement Success of Migrating European Silver Eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) from Lough Neagh Using Acoustic Telemetry to Corroborate a Traditional Mark/Recapture Method


  • Overall Winner: Colin Groundwater, Yale University
  • Winning Paper: Rhizomatic Mathematics: David Foster Wallace and the Literary Infinite
  • Island of Ireland Winner – Ellen Howley, University College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: Seamus Heaney’s Plateaus: Transitions between Air, Ground and Underground, and the Relationship between the Local and the Imaginative

Mathematics & Physics

  • Overall Winner: Flurin Eisner, University of Bristol
  • Winning Paper: Electron Deep Trap States in Oriented TiO2 Nanotubes Arrays
  • Island of Ireland Winner – Aaron Reid, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Winning Paper: Solar Vortices

Media & The Arts

  • Overall Winner: Dominic O’Key, University of Leeds
  • Winning Paper: Bela Tarr’s The Turin Horse: The (In)Visible Animal
  • Island of Ireland Winner – Stephen Quinn, Trinity College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: Performing Beyond Postmodernity: Taylor Mac and the Queer Metamodern

Medical Sciences

  • Overall Winner: Milani Sivapragasam, Western University
  • Winning Paper: Exploring Myxoma Virus Oncolytic Virotherapy in Combination with Carboplatin for the Treatment of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer
  • International Winner – Grace McKenna, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Winning Paper: Identification of Tumour Suppressor Genes whose Loss Mediates Sensitivity to Conventional Chemotherapy and Targeted Therapeutics

Nursing & Midwifery

  • Overall Winner: Dawn Smyth, Waterford Institute of Technology
  • Winning Paper: Abortion: Exploring the Ethical, Legal and Political Challenges
  • International Winner – Shion Gosrani, University of Edinburgh
  • Winning Paper: A Brief Exploration of the Socialisation of Gender and Emotional Intelligence to Gain an Understanding of Why Nursing Remains a Predominantly Sex Segregated Profession

Philosophical & Theological Studies

  • Overall Winner: Sam Mc Grath, University of Chicago
  • Winning Paper: The Zen of Ludwig Wittgenstein: An Elucidation of the Elusive ‘Ethical Point’ of the Tractatus
  • Island of Ireland Winner – Tadhg O’Laoighaire, University College Cork
  • Winning Paper: Thinking Makes it So; A Defence of Narrative Reflection as the Appropriate Measure of Worthwhile Life


  • Overall Winner: Hause Lin, University of Sussex
  • Winning Paper: Ego Depletion and Self-Control Failures: Resource Depletion or Changes in Motivation?
  • Island of Ireland Winner – Diego Garaialde, Dublin City University
  • Winning Paper: Measuring the Effects of Gaming Principles on the Productivity and Motivation of College Students

Social Sciences

  • Overall Winner: Joshua Oware, University of Oxford
  • Winning Paper: The Presence of Siberia: Power, Pain and Therapy in Solzhenitsyn’s ‘Ivan Denisovich’ and Shalamov’s ‘Kolyma Tales’
  • Island of Ireland Winner – Liath Gleeson, Trinity College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: Explain and Discuss the Significance of Paid Work in Society Today

Visual Arts

  • Overall Winner: Katie Watchorn, National College of Art and Design
  • Winning Paper: A Softness Preserved You
  • International Winner – Wilfred Lim, Nanyang Technological University
  • Winning Paper: New House

Campus Ambassador Wins Ticket to UA Global Summit

Claire Dillon was a Highly Commended entrant in the 2013 Programme for her submission to the Media & the Arts category. Claire was lucky enough to have her university (Northwestern University) sponsor her attendance at the 2013 UA Global Summit. When Claire returned to Northwestern University after the Summit last November, she volunteered to become a Campus Ambassador for The Undergraduate Awards. She summarises her motivations for and experiences of doing just that throughout the 2013-14 academic year. Claire was awarded a free ticket to the 2014 UA Global Summit as an award for her efforts at promoting the 2014 Programme on Northwestern’s campus.

It is hard to believe that nine months have already passed since I attended the 2013 Undergraduate Awards Global Summit. It doesn’t feel nearly so long ago, because the energy surrounding the Summit still lingers and influences my current endeavours and future plans. The Summit brought together a strong community of ambitious students whose ever-growing talents and achievements continue to inspire me. The resultant network of UA Alumni is unique in that it spans disciplines and countries, and it offers undergraduates a great deal of encouragement and resources comparable to those found among scholars with graduate degrees.

In my personal experiences at academic conferences, the platform provided to emerging scholars is often overshadowed by academics who are more established in their fields. The Undergraduate Awards is clearly quite different: their focus is on young researchers. They provide the opportunity for us to develop and share our ideas with one another and with the prominent activists, entrepreneurs, scientists, scholars, and others who attend the Summit as speakers and discussion leaders. As my friends Sam and Yannick explained in earlier blog posts, this is a rare opportunity and it is not to be missed, which is why I applied to serve as a UA Campus Ambassador immediately following the Summit. I was eager to give back to the community that had given me so much.

The Campus Ambassador role is very gratifying because you play an active part in strengthening and broadening UA’s outreach and network. Between 2013 and 2014, submissions from Northwestern University increased 700%. This statistic, along with this year’s overall increase in submissions, reflects the growing awareness of and interest in what UA has to offer young scholars. Working as a Campus Ambassador is not only a good excuse to stay in touch with the wonderful UA staff in Dublin; you also build connections with university administrators and your fellow classmates with similar skills and ambitions. Promoting the Undergraduate Awards enhances the program and its community, the opportunities at your university, and your own connections and relationships: a rewarding experience for all involved.

In August I was pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation to the 2014 Summit in recognition of my work as the UA Ambassador to Northwestern, and I couldn’t be more excited to attend. As my fellow 2013 Summit attendees continue to achieve even greater accomplishments, I cannot wait to meet and engage with another group of inspiring students. When we meet in Dublin, I will tell them — just as I am encouraging you now — to promote UA long after the Summit ends. As an Ambassador, you can help the program evolve for future applicants, attendees, and alumni, thereby upholding the same spirit of collaboration and support that underlies the Undergraduate Awards program.

For more on the Campus Ambassador programme, check out our info page here.

Sam Gordine Reflects on the UA Global Summit

Sam Gordine (University of St. Andrews) was Highly Commended in 2013 for her essay ‘Extracting drift rates from compressed dive profiles by using a step-wise filtering method’ in the Life Sciences category. Below she gives her account of attending the UA Global Summit in Dublin last November.

Attending the UA Global Summit was a fantastic trip to the UA headquarters in Ireland’s capital Dublin, pure luck, and a very rare experience indeed.

‘Pure luck’, you may wonder. And yes, pure luck it was. Not maybe in terms of being chosen as one of the Highly Commended candidates – a lot of work is invested into my coursework and the same is true for all other Highly Commended candidates. I mean pure luck in terms of attending this Summit, but let me explain what exactly I mean by this.

Firstly, let us go back in time. Almost exactly one year ago I submitted three pieces of my most promising academic work to the UA, just like you will have done this year. I was graduating that month too, so over the bustle and hustle that graduation brings with it, I totally forgot about having submitted some of my work to the UA. I also had only a small idea of what The Undergraduate Awards were. ‘An award for undergraduates…’, that is what I thought – and, back then, I could have never guessed the magnitude of an impact the UA would have upon my life. Summer passed and I recall my friend sending me an email congratulating me for being Highly Commended in the UA. Since I had kind of forgotten about it, it came as a great surprise. The following week I repeatedly checked my emails, but I remained a Highly Commended student and the winner of my category was chosen to be someone else. So I forgot about the UA again as the busy life of a new PhD student took hold of me.

At that time I was not really considering attending the UA Global Summit – especially because I was not among the winners. It was two other girls from my university (also Highly Commended) that made me think about attending when they enquired about receiving funding from our university in order to attend. This is when I talked to my PhD supervisor (who was also the lecturer I wrote my Highly Commended piece for). Rather surprisingly he encouraged me to attend the Summit and – here comes the luck part – was also willing to financially support my attendance. So I went.

Once I had confirmed my attendance and the UA Team started sending us some information on the event, my excitement grew gradually. I saw Cindy Gallop’s name on the speaker’s list. Slightly more excited, I heard we would get to experience some Irish culture. Also, that we would go to the Google headquarters and meet the Irish Prime Minister. The excitement continued to grow!

Nevertheless, when I got on that plane to Dublin, I was not at all sure what to expect. I was over-loaded with work the day I left for Dublin and I recall getting on the plane without knowing where to go to on the other end. I will never forget the welcome that awaited me. When I entered the hotel, I recognised two, three people wearing UA t-shirts. Surprisingly they also recognised me – knowing me by name and where I had come from, handing me a personalised goodie-bag and sending me off to my room. ‘Super organised’, I thought, and this impression was reinforced over the next three days – and lasted. To this day I am still very impressed by this genuine welcome.

The three days I shared a room with another Highly Commended candidate. It turned out that she was Dutch and that I had been to her village in Zeeland just two months previous. What a coincidence – we bonded immediately! However, not only did I bond with my roommate. Over the course of the next three days, I met about 65 of the most intelligent young undergraduates the world currently has to offer. Did we bond? Yes, very much so. Why? Well, because we all have certain attributes in common: hard-working, intelligent, interested, young, smart, like-minded, incredible human beings!

What happened at the UA Global Summit was completely unbelievable. To my friends I have described my experience as follows: Imagine a small fire, a light burning within you. Then imagine many people carrying these little fires within them, coming together to light a massive bonfire with their hearts and minds, their own flame growing steadily within their little bonfire hearts.

For this very reason, you, this year’s Highly Commended candidates should attend the Global Summit. You may think, ‘Since I did not win, is attending worth the expense?’. The answer to this is simply ‘yes’; because if there is one thing that I can guarantee you it is that this Summit will change your life. Having your hard work finally recognised by so many other students and people is amazing. This Summit is not about winning a shiny award. Whether you are a Highly Commended candidate or a winner does not matter. Not one single second; because this Summit is about recognising excellence and giving like-minded young individuals a space (temporally and spatially) to meet, to mingle and to mentally challenge their own thoughts, that of others and of paradigms of society.

At the Summit you will sleep too little, but you will not need that lost sleep – for you will be carried on an energy wave that will last days after the Summit has ended. When it ends you will ask yourself, ‘Have I really only been here for three days?’ and ‘Have I really only known these people for 3 days?’. For you will have seen so much of Dublin an average tourist needs a week for; for you will have grown together with this bunch of foreign people as though you had known them forever.

Maybe it was Theo Dorgan reciting one of his poems in the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. Maybe it was Cindy Gallop inspiring interesting conversations about feminism. Maybe it was the atmosphere at Farmleigh House or receiving the Highly Commended Awards in Trinity’s Long Room. Maybe it was the Guinness, the Irish dancing and folk music, or maybe it was dining and celebrating together in the crypts of Christ Church on our last evening. All put together, this made the UA Global Summit one of the best experiences in my life. I was lucky to be part of this rare experience. I urge you, take this rare chance in your life. You will never regret it!

Highly Commended Attendee Reflects on his UA Global Summit Experience

Yannick Weiler was a Highly Commended Entrant in the 2013 UA Programme, having been named as such in the Literature category. Below, he reflects on his experience as an attendee at the 2013 UA Global Summit. Highly Commended Entrants are invited to purchase one of a limited number of tickets to take part in the exclusive three-day event in November, which is open only to Winners and Highly Commended Entrants.

The Highly Commended Entrants for the 2014 Programme will be announced in late August.

Here, right beside my desk, hangs a newspaper article cut from The Irish Times, November 16th 2013. Above five familiar, young faces, the headline reads: “ ‘Davos for students’: the brightest undergrad brains ponder the big questions”. Whenever I happen to look at that snippet on my wall, I am transported back to the chambers of the Royal Society of Antiquaries in Dublin, because that’s where it all began: the UA Global Summit 2013 – one of the most inspiring events I took part in, and one of my most cherished memories.

There, in this venerable library-like room, Irish poet, novelist, and journalist Theo Dorgan delivered a uniquely witty and refreshing introductory address on what’s in there for us – in life. What struck me about this opening was Theo’s unflinchingly positive and constructive approach to the various topics he spoke about, and for me this vibrant positivity continued to run through each single moment of the three-day summit: It was manifest when we all presented our papers to each other – studies ranging from economics to literature, from engineering to history, from biology to philosophy –, it inflected our workshop on the “ideal university” of tomorrow at Google headquarters, it suffused the awards ceremony in Dublin’s City Hall – and this, really, is just a tiny glimpse into the many exceptional events and speakers the UA team provided us with.

The most rewarding thing to emerge for me from the Summit was a strong sense of recognition. It is one thing to receive a good mark on your term paper from your professor at your institution; but it is quite another matter to experience that an international jury, highly talented students from all kinds of disciplines, as well as a body of internationally distinguished social entrepreneurs and academics not only is aware of but strongly values your work, and that they are willing to lend you a hand in order to develop your potential to the full, and to make a contribution to a better future – like many of them have done before.

Yet, the Summit showed me something even more important. With all those exceptional people – several MacArthur fellows, a psychology professor suffering from schizophrenia, the first African-American female to travel into space –, you get the sense that talent and potential bring with them a responsibility to give something back, to make a positive change in some area of society. And while I was aware of that before, those people at the Summit showed me that to fulfill this responsibility can actually be fun, that it can make you into someone you thought you could not reach up to, and that it can become something rewarding in itself.

Before attending, I had been oscillating between plans to embark on a career in academia or to go into secondary education. The UA Global Summit finally showed me that a field full of problems is nothing to shy away from; by contrast, this is where you are most needed, where the most opportunities for positive change arise, and where you can develop yourself by improving the field. This is why I decided to pursue a Master’s of Education-degree, and I am looking forward to making a positive imprint on the schooling system of tomorrow.

Lastly, I am immensely indebted to the UA Summit for having had the chance to meet all those wonderful students from all over the world. The talks, discussions, bus-rides, dinners, concerts, and dances of these three days have made an imprint on me, and many of us are still in contact with each other. For this reason alone – and you have, I hope, seen that there are many more –, I strongly encourage you to attend the Undergraduate Awards Global Summit. After all, it is, I suppose, not every day that you get the chance to talk to the first African-American NASA astronaut over dinner in the crypts of Christ Church Cathedral or to meet the Irish Prime Minister on a Thursday evening!

UA Alum Helping Babies Breathe in Sudan

This year, UA 2013 winner, Siobhán O’Connor was selected to participate in an international training programme called Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) to educate and support community midwives in Northern Sudan. Siobhán was the Irish category winner for Nursing and Midwifery. She is a graduate of University College Cork, Ireland. Here’s what she had to say about her involvement with HBB and how UA helped her in this novel global educational initiative!

Since winning the Nursing and Midwifery category of the UA in 2013 I was privileged to take part in an international training programme to help educate and support community midwives in Northern Sudan. Professor Anthony Ryan, a Consultant Neonatologist at Cork University Maternity Hospital and Dr Sami Ahmed, a Consultant Pediatrician at the Bons Secours Hospital, Cork, Ireland established a long running teaching, research and clinical partnership with Omdurman Maternity Hospital, Sudan in 1999. I was asked to join the team due to my multidisciplinary background and my academic achievements recognised by UA.

In January 2014 I visited Khartoum for one week to help deliver the Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) programme in conjunction with a team of international trainers. HBB is a neonatal resuscitation training programme specially developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics for use in low resource settings.  My experience of participating in UA’s Global Summit imbued me with so much enthusiasm and motivation to follow my passion and I jumped at the chance of getting involved in this global educational initiative.

HBB consists of a pictorial learner flipchart, newborn simulator and simple bag and mask ventilation equipment. The programme delivers a series of practical hands-on skills based workshops using dyad or paired learning to teach resuscitation skills. This includes a physical assessment of an infant at birth, temperature support, stimulation to breathe and assisted ventilation as needed. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health we delivered a HBB Train the Trainer programme to 80 paediatricians and midwives from across Northern Sudan who will in turn train hundreds of village midwives on neonatal resuscitation. This simple educational programme will help reduce infant deaths by building the knowledge and skills of healthcare workers throughout Northern Sudan. The words of UA 2013 keynote speaker Dr Mae Jemison were ringing in my ears, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”. Thanks UA & HBB for an amazing experience!

For more information on HBB in Sudan please visit:

Alum Reflects on her UA Experience

Éabha O’Leary Fitzpatrick reflects on the reasons why she submitted to The Undergraduate Awards below, and how it has impacted her life since. Éabha is a University of Limerick graduate and is currently studying an MSc in Innovation Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship in University College Cork. Éabha was named as Highly Commended in the Irish Language category in 2012.

I remember the exact moment it happened, I had finished class, I had an essay due and was eager to get home to finish it. I was walking towards the entrance of the Main Building when in the corner of my eye I spotted a green poster with ‘The Undergraduate Awards’ written across it in bright bold. Although I was in a rush to get home I retracted my steps to read what was on the poster. I wrote down ‘The Undergraduate Awards’ on my hand and thought to myself, I must Google this when I get home. Little did I know at the time, that simple decision to stop would have a momentous effect on what was to follow.

The wonderful thing about The Undergraduate Awards is that students submit work they have already completed. I had worked on my project; an analysis of the discourse of Existentialism in the poetry of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill for several months, as part of my final year project and I absolutely loved it. I called it my baby! Receiving the email from The Undergraduate Awards to say that my project was one of the top ten percent selected gave me a huge sense of recognition, and confidence. Despite working all those long hours, doubt niggles at the back of your mind as to whether the work you do is good enough. Suddenly, following one email that doubt dissipates… but not for long.

I was terrified to attend the UA Global Summit, I knew that I would have the opportunity to meet many students from all over the world who were incredibly accomplished and talented and I did not feel like them. I felt like an impostor. Interestingly this is the reason why many friends did not submit their work to the UA, believing it was a case of ‘us versus them’. ‘Them’ being the prodigies of today who are so very far removed from us to the point that it would be impossible to relate to any of the participants.

I promise you this is not the case. The impostor syndrome wears off after ten minutes as I came to realise that the participants were wonderfully kind people from all walks of life who had intriguing stories to tell. They were so passionate about their own work and everyone I met was equally passionate to hear about mine. We shared stories, ideas and anecdotes. The UA Global Summit made me realise that in life you cannot be the best at everything but it’s important to be comfortable with that. Everyone has something to bring to the table.

The wonderful thing about the UA Global Summit is that you build a fantastic network of eclectic people who are passionate, hardworking and excited for what the future holds. The 2012 participants stay in contact and meet up from time to time. All of the participants from 2012 have gone on to do incredible things, and it has been a privilege to share successes with them, I was so proud to read Meicen’s blog on her attendance at the Clinton Global Initiative. I think to myself; I have the coolest friends.

Before the UA Global Summit I had never thought I had placed a glass ceiling over my head, I thought of myself as ambitious and determined. That was of course until I began to listen to the wonderful, enlightening speakers at the Summit, and there came a sudden realisation that I had placed many limitations on what I believed I was capable of.

These wonderful speakers from many diversified backgrounds were people who had not taken the conventional path. Listening to their encouraging and exciting stories, I could see that the glass ceiling of limitation was cracking and by the end of the Summit it had shattered completely.
The UA Global Summit gave me the confidence to embark on a completely new adventure. I was offered a placement on a fantastic and prestigious graduate program before the Summit, but on the train home I knew I wouldn’t take it. Instead I asked a very inspirational lady could I come work for her where I was offered an internship that completely changed the path I took.

Consequently I decided to do a Masters in Innovation Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship which is something I would have never before considered, (I didn’t even use mobile applications on my phone and I was about to undertake an MSc that had technology at its core). It was a risky move but as I am a few months short of completing that Masters, having recently returned home from participating in the International Graduate Competition in Montreal, I know in my heart that I would never have taken this route if I did not submit to the UA and thus attend the UA Global Summit which invariably led me down the path less travelled to the point I am at today.

I shout it from the rooftops, the UA Global Summit offers you the opportunity of a lifetime! I implore, urge and plead ANYONE who reads this, or walks by a UA poster to submit your work!

At the end of the day, however, it boils down to the decision that is made – to submit or not? Certainly that one decision I made shaped me in ways I would never have expected. In the words of F.W. Boreham, “We make our decisions, and then our decisions turn around and make us.”

What will your decision be?

Submissions are open until June 2nd 2014. Students in the penultimate and final year of their degree are eligible to submit, as well as those who graduated from their degree in 2013. The submission page is available to view here.

Judges Confirmed from Australia, UK and Ireland

The UA Team continues to work hard in putting together the panels of academics and industry experts to judge each of the 25 categories.

We are delighted to confirm three more extremely high-calibre academics as the Chair Judges for the Earth & Environmental Sciences, International Relations & Politics, and Nursing & Midwifery categories.

Dr Glen Fox is based in the University of Queensland’s Centre for Nutrition and Food Science, having previously worked for 25 years, conducting research projects with the Queensland Government. He obtained his PhD from Southern Cross University in the area of barley genetics related to barley and malt quality. In 2011, Dr Fox was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Since 2013, he has worked as an Affiliated Scientist at the Biosciences eastern & central Africa (BecA), International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya. We are delighted to have Dr Fox on board as the Chair Judge for our Earth & Environmental Sciences category.

Dr Nick Robinson is an Associate Professor of Politics at the University of Leeds. He currently holds a four-year research grant from the Swedish Research Council and is part of a multinational research team investigating the militarization of social media and video games. Prior to that he has been engaged in research on the EU which covered issues such as the equitable distribution of EU resources and issues centred on the exercise of power. Dr Robinson will be the 2014 Chair Judge for the International Relations & Politics category.

Prof. Imelda Coyne is Head of Children’s Discipline in the School of Nursing & Midwifery in Trinity College Dublin. She is also a former Director of Undergraduate Studies in the school. Prof. Coyne has over 20 years experience in children’s nursing, firstly as a practicing nurse then as a lecturer. Prof. Coyne previously served as the Chair Judge for the Nursing & Midwifery category in 2013, and returns to that post for UA this year. We’re delighted to have her with us again.

If you’d like to apply to become a judge for the 2014 Programme, as part of one of our 25 panels, then fill in the form here.

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