Alumni News

Where They Are Now Wednesday: Ragav Manimaran

Ragav Manimaran from University College London was the 2016 Global Winner in the Medical Sciences Category for his paper entitled “Developing an ultrasound phantom using 3D printing for practicing minimally invasive intracardiac procedures.”

Since the 2016 Undergraduate Awards Global Summit, Ragav has been actively involved in medical technology across Europe and his undergraduate research was recently published in the journal of ‘Physics in Medicine and Biology’.

Having worked with the World Health Organization in Geneva as a Medical Technology and Innovation Intern, Ragav helped identify the most valuable health-tech for WHO member states to use in low-resource settings. Following on, he has broadened his international experience by consulting for Roche Diagnostics in Germany and Switzerland.

Alongside his medical studies at University College London, Ragav is actively involved in London’s start-up ecosystem. He led the UCL Entrepreneurs Society (UCLe), one of Europe’s largest and active enterprise societies, to be recognised as the ‘Best University Enterprise Society’ in the UK. Having realised there was a gap in cross-university collaboration, Ragav co-founded Kickstart London, the first student-run pre-accelerator active across London. Since launching in 2015, Kickstart London has accelerated 16 student businesses.

Ragav is amongst the first medical students in the UK to be selected to join the NHS England Clinical Entrepreneur Fellowship. As a result, he is excited to be working on a digital health project to improve the self-monitoring of chronic diseases.

Read Ragav’s paper on The Undergraduate Awards Library.

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Li Sou

Li Sou a Durham University graduate, won the 2015 Gold medal in the Classical Studies & Archaeology category for her paper titled “New Light on Colour: a study of polychromy on Neo-Assyrian reliefs”

Li Sou paper on digitally reconstructing the colours of ancient Assyrian sculptures was published in the journal Antiquity’s project gallery

Since then she has completed her Masters at Durham University, specialising in Later Prehistoric Archaeology, particularly monuments of the British Iron Age (c.800 BC – 43 AD), and worked with the Geospatial Imaging team at Historic England. There, she trained to survey and analyse historic buildings and ancient monuments across the country in 3D using photogrammetry and laser scanning; from sections of Hadrian’s Wall, castles, abbeys and lime kilns to Iron Age villages down in Cornwall. She got to travel all over England, which was brilliant!

Li started her PhD this year, which is an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership between the University of Bradford, where she is currently based, and Historic Environment Scotland, with Shetland Amenity Trust. She is using 3D digital documentation to study three famous Iron Age brochs; Jarlshof, Mousa and Old Scatness (prehistoric dry stone towers) in the Shetland Isles of Scotland, so her on-going fascination with visualising the past continues. Li is particularly looking forward to experimenting with virtual reality as a way to engage people with these amazing ancient monuments, which can be very difficult to physically get to! Mousa broch can only be reached by a seasonal ferry, as it is on a deserted island with no roads, and to ascend to the top you have to climb a dark, steep, uneven spiral staircase – not the most accessible place, but an architectural marvel built over 2000 years ago! Li surveyed the site this summer with her supervisors and colleagues from Historic Environment Scotland and it was quite an adventurous trek to get there with all their survey kit!

“I think digital technologies are an excellent way of getting a glimpse of what life in the past, and particularly, non-destructive 3D imaging is an invaluable resource for visualising our heritage; to record, present and preserve it for the future. My research will help to develop conservation and management plans for the three brochs, which are on the UK’s tentative list for World Heritage Site status.”

Li keeps a blog, where she is tracking her travels and developments on her PhD, which can be found at


Where Are They Now Wednesday: Intan Wardhani

Intan Wardhani: A University of Queensland Australia graduate who was a 2015 Highly Commended Entrant in the Psychology Category for her paper titled “Find me in the crowd: The effects of inversion and emotion on the search efficiency of happy and angry expressions”

Intan Wardhani was completing her dual degree in psychology at the University of Queensland, Australia, and the University of Indonesia, Indonesia, when she submitted the paper to the Undergraduate Awards. During that time, she also had an opportunity to go on an exchange at the University of Manchester, UK, for one semester. Despite staying for a brief period, she found the experience enriching for both her professional and personal developments. Before commencing her master’s degree, she worked in laboratories; learning new research and analysis techniques, and building up her writing skills. Albeit it took longer time, to her those were very invaluable lessons in preparing herself for the higher degree. This year, Intan is finalising her master’s degree at the University of Oslo, Norway. Her thesis project investigates the effects of nicotine on human’s visual attention. In this project, she analyses her participants’ eye movements and pupil size.

In the meantime, she is also interning at the Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences laboratory at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Here she has learnt a great deal of novel things that augment her knowledge and refine her understanding of the cognitive neuroscience research. Intan’s favourite part of this internship is programming, building new experiments, and handling some new tools.

“Before my internship, I also had a wonderful opportunity to become one of the judges at the UA 2017 for psychology panel! It was a memorable experience that I would like doing again. I got to know dedicated and brilliant people from different universities around the world. The judging process was also fun and challenging. I was impressed by a lot of papers and I almost could not believe that they were written by undergraduate students.”

As for the future, Intan wants to continue to PhD level to work even more intensively in the field of cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and genetics. She has always enjoyed working in academia and research because she finds the environment intellectually stimulating and the people ambitious while keeping things realistic and achievable. Moreover, she thinks that working in scientific research is a form of contribution to improving humanity.

“My life is not all about work and research, though. To keep my body fit, I play squash and since I moved to Norway, I have fallen in love with hiking and, obviously, skiing. I also like singing and playing guitar, writing short stories, and reading in my spare time. Now I am even learning how to play a violin. There is always something to explore!”

Have a look at Intan Wardhani Highly Commended paper on The Undergraduate Awards Library.

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Marianne White

Marianne White a University of Dundee graduate who was an Overall Winner in 2015 in the Category of Nursing and Midwifery with her paper titled “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?”.

Marianne lives in a rural community in Perthshire and works in a large teaching hospital in Dundee, Scotland. She continues to work as a midwife, but since returning from the Undergraduate Awards in 2015 she has felt really inspired and with this confidence boost she has been applying for a variety of opportunities and being successful in them all which has led to a very busy few years!

Shortly after returning from Dublin, Marianne applied to work as a research assistant with the Maternal and Infant Research team at the University of Dundee. This project investigated what good midwifery care looks like and how we can improve clinical outcomes for mothers and newborns. It has been a really interesting project following on from a paper published in the Lancet by Renfrew et al in 2014 entitled “Midwifery and quality care: findings from a new evidence-informed framework for maternal and newborn care”. They are now in the process of writing up their papers and hope to have them published next year. A few months later she was successful in securing the post of Infant Feeding Advisor for NHS Tayside.

Marianne is hugely passionate about women centred care and ensuring that they provide kind and compassionate care to all women within our service. Her remit now includes; the implementation and maintenance of UNICEF Baby Friendly standards across all NHS Tayside Maternity and Neonatal Services and ensuring that practice in relation to infant feeding is evidence based.

“In addition to this I assist in the coordination, development and provision of education and specialist support to staff and parents on all aspects of infant feeding. Our aim as an infant feeding team is to promote a culture which supports all parents to develop loving relationships with their newborn and supports breastfeeding whilst respecting a woman’s right to choose how to feed her baby.”

Marianne has recently started an 18-month project which is sponsored by the Academic Health Science Partnership in Tayside and is entitled ” Supporting the ‘Golden hour’ for mother-infant skin to skin contact at elective caesarean sections. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recommend immediate skin-to-skin contact for women and newborns following birth (WHO 2015, UNICEF 2016). Skin to skin contact is the term used when the naked newborn is placed on the mother’s bare chest after birth.

“I wanted to support this vulnerable group and through a 4-phase action research cycle I aim to work with both health professionals and parents to look into the barriers preventing immediate skin contact at caesarean births and what facilitators could promote this invaluable behaviour.”

In addition to this Marianne has two young children with whom she really enjoys spending time with usually on their bikes, swimming or going to festivals.

“Life is busy but it’s a happy one. “

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Niamh McShane

Niamh McShane was an Irish Regional winner in the Languages & Linguistics category in 2015 with her essay entitled “Moral Law in the works of Anselm Kiefer | What moral questions does Anselm Kiefer raise in his work and how does he explore the function and reasoning of human morality in relation to the holocaust?”

Niamh is a first class honours Germanic Studies graduate of Trinity College Dublin whose dissertation research explored the role of gender in German vampire narratives. She is currently living in Berlin, and has just started a masters in European literature at Humboldt University. During her time in Berlin she was the winner of an EU scholarship for young entrepreneurs and since taking part in the Undergraduate Awards, she has been keeping herself busy writing content for software startups, organising Women in Tech talks, and discovering the city through taking part in every run she can – from half-marathons around suburban lakes to most recently completing 42 kilometres through the heart of the city in the Berlin Marathon. Her interests include life-drawing, analogue photography, feminist literature, blogging and most recently, volunteering with Pass the Crayon, an organisation providing art classes in refugee centers in the city. Check out Niamh’s blog where she describes her experience volunteering with Pass the Crayon.

Niamh’s experience of her academic work being recognised by The Undergraduate Awards confirmed her interest in academia and cultural research and allowed her to indulge in many wonderful and wacky conversations with a diverse and international crowd of people with research interests in a range of inspiring fields.

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Abu Anas Ibn Samad

Abu Anas Ibn Samad from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology was recognised as a Highly Commended entrant in the Engineering and Built Environment category in 2015. His paper was titled “Development and analysis of adaptive neural network control for a Cybernetic intelligent ‘iGDI’ engine”

Abu Anas Ibn Samad is currently living in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He was on the Engineering Judging Panel for UA 2016 and reviewed scholarly papers from potential Undergraduates submitted by meritorious students around the world.

“The experience was very enchanting for me to learn and share new approaches to solve a wide variety of problems on Engineering sector.”

Abu Anas Ibn Samad founded a Startup based on Dhaka, Bangladesh on February 2016 addressing the problem of road accidents which takes thousands of lives each year. The startup company is dedicated to developing both active and passive safety device for ground vehicles which could alert drivers in case of potential collision and could also apply brake when necessary. The startup has been selected as one of the TOP 50 startups in the very first Connecting StartUps Bangladesh platform initiated by the Government of Bangladesh.

“Since my research on UA was primarily focused on Machine Learning application to solve a complex challenge in Automotive Industry, my interested has been boosted in the field since then by the global recognition. My startup SIGMIND is the very first Artificial Intelligence based startup in Bangladesh which is also a member on NVIDIA Inception Program that recognises top A.I. startups around the world. Thus, my entrepreneurial life gives me the opportunity to both study and conducting research on my self-pace as well as developing business skills to deliver my enthusiasm for the world market.”

Last year in December, the company has launched a product Advanced Driver Assistance and Monitoring System (ADAMS) for pre-order which is receiving tremendous responses so they are working vigorously to deliver fully finished products within this year. Very recently, the company has also been awarded as one of the TOP 20 startups on the Startup Bangladesh platform created under the Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (iDEA) by the ICT Division, Peoples Republic of Bangladesh.

“I have been always enthusiastic to solve some of the greatest challenges for humanity and UA has provided me the spirit to do so. Now with my Artificial Intelligence startup, I am blessed to get the right tools at the right time for pushing the limits to solve some of the most demanding problems for mankind. Our motto is “Advancing A.I. for Humanity” and we are moving forward enthusiastically with it.”

His company SIGMIND has been awarded as the second runner-up on the National ICT Awards 2017, Bangladesh in Startup category which recognises top IT companies in the country and enables participating in the APICTA AWARD 2017, the most prestigious ICT event in the south-Asian region for ICT innovators and entrepreneurs.

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Peter Jianrui Liu

Peter Liu a University of Calgary graduate was highly commended in the Medical Sciences category in 2015 for his paper, “Augmentation of Oncolytic Viral Therapy by Immune Checkpoint Blockade and Reversal of Tumor Microenvironment Immunosuppression in Breast Cancer”.

Peter was an exchange scholar at Harbin Medical University the summer when he was ranked in highly commended in the medical science category, and his research done in China has since resulted in a second author publication in the Journal of Ovarian Research. The thesis submitted to the UA has also contributed to another scientific article that has been submitted for publication.

He has since completed two years of Doctor of Medicine (MD) education at the University of Toronto and currently studying for a DPhil in Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford with Profs. Jane McKeating and Sir Peter Ratcliffe on how hepatitis viruses are able to exploit the oxygen-sensing pathway (hypoxia pathway) to induce liver cancer. Peter will complete the final two years of the MD Program thereafter as a part of his training as a physician-scientist.

He has also been involved with founding a Think Tank called BRIGHT International ( to help more effectively and rapidly translate scientific innovation into practical applications in healthcare and medicine.

“So overall, I have been continuing to pursue cancer research as a career and hoping to contribute my part to bring the most innovative scientific discoveries to patients as a physician-scientist in the future.”



Where Are They Now Wednesday: Hannah McCartney

Hannah McCartney was Highly Commended in the Economics category of the Undergraduate Awards in 2015 for her paper on the case for abolishing Intellectual Property Rights entitled.

“Since the development of intellectual property rights in 17th century England, economists have argued whether patents encourage the pursuit of entrepreneurship or hinder creativity and development.”

Hannah is currently living in London after graduating from the University of East Anglia with a first in Economics and recently completed the graduate scheme at L’Oreal UK & Ireland, working in different teams across the business. She now has a permanent role in the Business Development Team there, specialising in skincare.


 “A job that allows me to combine the analytical part of my studies that I always enjoyed with my passion for health and beauty. “


One of the most important things she learnt from the Undergraduate Awards was the value of multi-disciplinary learning, and she feels very lucky to be in a job that encourages her to explore this every day. Although Hannah didn’t pursue academia past her undergraduate degree, she hopes one day to complete an MBA, and see herself pursuing a career in Business Strategy – perhaps working with start ups to grow their brands into established businesses, as this is where her interest lies.

One of the reasons Hannah chose to work for L’Oreal is the fact that it is a company grounded in gender equality and empowering women. This was also something Hannah really valued about the Undergraduate Awards.


 “The Global Summit I attended in Dublin was so diverse, yet so inclusive, and I met some truly inspirational women there. Young women feeling empowered to go into the world of business is something that is incredibly important to me and schemes such as the Undergraduate Awards provide an excellent platform for them to do so. I can certainly say, speaking from personal experience, that I would not have had the opportunities I have had without the backing of the scheme and my dream is to become a role model for the next generation of female business people.”





Where Are They Now Wednesday: Kelsey Perreault

Kelsey Perreault a 2015 Highly Commended Entrant for her paper “Hidden Histories and Collections: Discovering the Underbelly Project” in the category of Music, Film, Theatre & Art History.

Kelsey recently completed her Masters in Art History at Western University in London, Canada and just moved to Ottawa where she is in her first year of her PhD in Cultural Mediations at Carleton University.

Since UA she has curated three small art exhibitions and held several positions at galleries and museums in London. The picture here is from the Georgia O’Keefe show that was on at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto this summer. She has been traveling a lot for her research with trips to Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, and across Canada and the US. Kelsey is planning an upcoming trip to the UK for research at the Imperial War Museum.

“My research right now broadly explores topics of human rights and difficult knowledge in museums, but I also wrote about Holocaust museums and the European memorial landscape in my MA thesis.”

Outside of school, she loves staying active and has set herself a goal to complete her first half marathon and full marathon in the next calendar year.

“I’ve remained in touch with many of the friends I made at UA and would love to connect with any fellow alumni if they ever find themselves in Ottawa.”



Chris Lubbe – The UA Global Summit 2017 Keynote Speaker

Chris Lubbe grew up in a rural part of Port St. John, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. From a young age, he had an interest in public speaking and politics. This was the beginning of his path that would lead him into becoming an activist and go up against the apartheid regime in South Africa. His determination and devotion in his vision for South Africa always motivated him to continue his work in the face of an ever-present threat of violence.

Chris Lubbe spends his life fighting discrimination and teaching people about the consequences of discrimination. He does this through traveling as a public speaker, spreading his peaceful message around the world. He believes that everyone is equal and should be treated that way, so he uses his influence and vast experience to inspire change. He encourages everyone to use their own ability to create change in the world around them.


“The key themes of my message are determination, courage, perseverance and the power of forgiveness in the face of blatant racial discrimination or opposition”


After Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990 and the fall of apartheid, Chris worked with Nelson Mandela until his retirement as a bodyguard. Chris first met Mandela in 1990, while organising a concert for the African National Congress (ANC). While protecting the first black president of South Africa, he also had the life changing opportunity to meet the international dignitaries such as The Queen. He also got involved in the delicate negotiations with the apartheid regime resulting in subsequent agreement and the drafting of the new constitution. The years by Nelson Mandela side Chris got to learn from him, having first hand experience the work Mandela did towards a vision of South Africa where everyone was free.



“Hope, forgiveness, reconciliation and freedom are the lasting memories I have of Nelson Mandela,”


Chris Lubbe an ambassador for Unicef, now inspires younger generations to speak out and determine their own future regardless of race, gender or disability. Encouraging them to become global citizens.


The Winning UA Campus Ambassador 2017: Hajera Thakur

Hajera Thakur From Qatar University who was the UA Campus Ambassador 2017! Sharing her experience on being a UA Campus Ambassador.

Few weeks prior to my finals of the Fall 2016 semester, I received an email from my university’s Center of Volunteering & Community Service inviting students to volunteer for the Undergraduate Awards. Doing some research about it, I ended up on the UA’s webpage for the Campus Ambassadors. The words “Ambassador” and “based in Ireland” had me hooked right away. Come next semester of Spring 2017, I was encouraged to register by two of my friends, both of whom had been part of the UA experience in the past years. Soon enough, “welcome to the UA team” email had popped in my inbox and I was all-set to begin.

Since the filling out the application, I was filled with several ideas on how to feasibly pull this off. I began with getting in touch with Qatar University’s UA Faculty Contact and the Events Coordinator to better facilitate the promotion. Being a senior student, balancing my studies and graduation research project, I enlisted few friends and acquaintances to act as volunteers and assist me with my role. Qatar University’s undergraduate students and faculty were informed via emails, face-to-face talks, UA promo materials, and info booths were open for a week on both the male and female campuses. Social media posts were designed and contact cards prepared with both UA and the Campus Ambassador’s details on them.

What I enjoyed most was being able to organize and delegate tasks to volunteers, meeting new faces interested in contributing their works to the global academic community, and receiving helpful tips and suggestions from the UA staff.

Fast forward 3 months later, I’m eagerly awaiting the final verdict on who will be the Winning Campus Ambassador. I was already in high spirits by the time the email arrived, and thrilled for those who would be nominated, even if it wouldn’t be me. Scrolling at a slow pace, my eyes finally landed on the line that mentioned my name in bold. Unbelieving but beyond ecstatic, I kept refreshing and rereading the email several times to make sure I was reading it right. I was nominated as the Winning UA Campus Ambassador 2017!!! Visiting Ireland was going to mark my first international travel. My dream to step foot on European lands seemed to be coming true and my prayers finally answered. After I had calmed down albeit still excited, I surfed through Pinterest looking for anything and everything about Dublin- what is the weather like, what clothes to wear, what places to see, and the sorts.

A week later at my Clinical Practices training orientation as I’m still an undergraduate student, I received the most unfortunate news. The attendance policy states that all days of training are mandatory and compensation of missed days would be quite difficult. This meant I couldn’t attend the UA Global Summit, meet and network with new people, and experience new ideas and opinions. Not being able to see Ireland/Dublin in all its glory. Slowly but gradually, I did accept the fact, hoping one day I’ll be able to visit Ireland and the Undergraduate Awards.

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Kamarul Bin Mohamed Sapiee

Kamarul Bin Mohamed Sapiee from Nanyang Technological University who was a Highly Commended Entrant in the Visual Arts and Design Category in 2016 for his Paper titled “Hardhat”

Right after the UA Global Summit in November 2016 he had a video work commissioned by Google, the work was on display on a digital wall in their Asia-Pacific HQ office in Singapore. The work was titled “From 1 Billion To 1”.

“The Future is Already here..” article published on LinkedIn by Tolla Sloane Associate Art Consultant at Contemporary Art Society, discussing the detail, structure and experience of his work.


He graduated back in May, where he also created an artwork for the graduation show, titled “The Hue Space” which he was also Highly Commended for this year! He gave us a summary off what it was about.


‘The Hue Space is an interactive audiovisual installation that explores light in relation to human emotions. Presented in a full-dome projection space, this enclosed and immersive room invites visitors to experience unfamiliar and singular visual conditions. Through multiple combinations of sound and subtle gradual transition of colours, the work engenders unique and constantly evolving lighting tableaux. Inspired by the psychological influence of colours on human perception, visitors may find themselves constructing emotional responses and narratives during their experience.’

Here is a video documenting his work.


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