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.