UA 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!

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 UA Judging Process 2018

A massive thanks to all students who have submitted their coursework to The Undergraduate Awards (UA) 2018! Our Team have been sincerely enjoying screening your innovative and exciting work ahead of the beginning of the UA Judging Process.

The 2018 Judging Process officially began on the 12th of June. This Process sees panels of expert Judges from academic institutions all over the world collaborate to score your fabulous Submissions. Over 4 Stages throughout the entire summer, our Judges evaluate these Submissions in great detail, ultimately choosing to whom the extremely sought-after position of Global Winner will be awarded! Regional Winners, Highly Commended Entrants, and Commended Entrants will also be recognised among the wide body of talented works, and added to the UA Alumni Portal.

The chosen winners will be announced mid-September, at the end of the Judging Process.

All Winners (Global, Regional, Highly Commended, and Commended) will then be invited to attend the UA Global Summit, which consists of workshops, presentations, and award ceremonies. Judges, speakers of interest, academics, students, and Winners alike can network and discuss their research at this fabulous event, which will take place in Croke Park, Dublin, from 12th-14th of November.

Last year, the Judging Process saw 345 Judges volunteering from over 30 countries to assess the 6,432 submissions to UA.  This year, our Judging panels are even bigger, and are comprised of Judges from over 40 countries!

All Entrants should be thoroughly proud to have their work read by interested experts from across the globe. However, each category can only have one Global Winner! The highest award offered by UA, the Global Winner will present their Winning Submission at the UA Global Summit, have their work published in The Undergraduate Library  and The Undergraduate Journal (stocked in Third-Level libraries all over the world), be formally awarded a Gold Medal, achieve international recognition, and, of course, receive access to UA’s Alumni Portal (a network of scholars and Industry leaders across the world).

We wish all of our talented Entrants the best of luck in relation to the Process, and assure you that will we be in touch to inform all Winners of their success just as soon as possible.

Category Spotlight: Earth and Environmental Sciences

This category is for students of the natural environment and ecosystems, including students of Earth Science, Agriculture, Geography, Geology, etc.

Students of Human Geography should submit their work to Social Sciences: Anthropology & Cultural Studies.

Entrants must submit an abstract of between 100-300 words long, and the word count is  2,500 – 12,000 words.


In 2017 the category was won by Bridget Murphy from Western University. Her paper, “Future Climate Conditions Alter Leaf Thermotolerance In Canadian Boreal Trees“, highly impressed the judges.

Bridget sampled seedlings grown under varying CO2 concentrations combined with ambient, ambient +4 C and ambient +8 C growth temperatures and exposed needles to temperatures between 25 C and 60 C from 3 to 30 minutes. She found that elevated temperature increased the needle thermotolerance of both black spruce and tamarack to brief, extreme heat exposure. Her work indicated a potential for species-specific resilience to predicted severe heat waves.




The judges were very impressed with Bridget’s research, with one stating

I thought this paper shows how a student engaged in the scientific process, from a study design through to undertaking laboratory experiments, analysing results, and eventually making a contribution to our understanding of likely plant responses to a changing climate. What set it apart from the other papers in my top three or four was the fact that the student collected the data him/herself, which provided an added dimension not in the others.

In 2016, the category was won by Wayne Egan from the Institute of Technology, Sligo, with his paper, “To assess the impact of the Bellawaddy River on the microbiological quality of the bathing waters of Enniscrone Beach, Co. Sligo, Ireland“.

In his project the Bellawaddy River was assessed to see if it is a source of Short Term Pollution at Enniscrone’s bathing waters. Discharge of the river was measured using an automatic water level data logger in conjunction with an ascertained rating curve. Indicator bacteria levels were measured in the river and the bathing area. Daily rainfall data was obtained from a local rainfall station. The river was seen to produce hydrograph responses to heavy intense rainfall events. Very large concentrations of indicator bacteria were measured in the river after these hydro-meteorological events. These results showed strong correlation to highly elevated levels of bacteria (STP) in the bathing water. It is concluded that the Bellawaddy River is a primary source of bacteria for the STP events.

If you would like to follow in the footsteps of these wonderful academics, submit your work to The Undergraduate awards before June 12th!


Article in The Harvard Crimson About The Undergraduate Awards Programme 2018

We are delighted to have an article about The Undergraduate Awards and the Global Undergraduate Summit 2018 in Harvard’s long-running newspaper The Harvard Crimson this week. The Harvard Crimson, the United States’ oldest continuously published daily college newspaper, is run entirely by undergraduate students. Over 25 Crimson alumni have won the Pulitzer Prize; many of their portraits line the walls of The Crimson.

Over the years we have had a wealth of innovative and outstanding papers from Harvard University students across all 25 categories.

In 2015, Donguen Seo penned a paper titled “A New Kid on the Block: How Food Trucks Evolved from Roach Coaches to Cultural Phenomena” which was Highly Commended in the Social Sciences category. The paper offers an interesting insight into the evolution of food trucks into a prominent source of street revenue in the United States  and the relationship between customers’ social class and the food they choose to consume.

Marissa Suchyta, was Highly Commended in 2015, for her Life Sciences paper ” Finding Factors that Initiate Limb Regeneration”. The research identifies the initiating factors of axolotl limb regeneration.

The Award Winner in the Politics & International Relations category 2013 was Joshua Zoffer with his paper “The Currency of Coercion: The Effect of Currency Pegs on the Success of Economic Sanctions”.

You can read the article on The Crimson here.

To read papers from Harvard students and other past Global Winners and Highly Commended entrants, check out The Undergraduate Awards Library.

Judging Chair Spotlight: Robert M. Mauro, PhD (Politics and International Relations category)

The Undergraduate Awards are pleased to welcome back Robert M.Mauro, PhD. as Judging Chair of Politics and International Relations 2018.

Robert M. Mauro, PhD., is Executive Director of the Irish Institute and founding Director of the Global Leadership Institute at Boston College.

Before coming to Boston College he undertook a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Institute for British-Irish Studies (IBIS) at University College Dublin (UCD). While there he worked on a project, titled Breaking the Patterns of Conflict: The Irish State, the British Dimension, and the Northern Ireland Conflict, a comprehensive oral history of policy makers involved with Northern Ireland peace process from the Sunningdale Agreement to the St. Andrews Agreement.

He completed his PhD (The Practice of Ideology, 2009) in Political Science at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York. He is an expert in business and political practices, including leadership and strategy, global engagement and business development, conflict resolution, and Irish and American politics.

Mauro was the Judging Process Chair for the Politics and International Relations category in 2017 and he found the process very enjoyable. In 2017, Tushar Bhargava from Brown Univeristy was the overall winner in this category with his paper titled, “Partners in Crime: Telecommunication Companies and Intelligence Agencies” and commented on the winning assignment“. Tushar’s paper highly impressed Mauro, who stated:

This is a skillfully written essay about the formation of relationships between intelligence agencies in the United States and telecommunication corporations. The author displayed both rigor in their historical research and the reconstruction of the founding relationships between telecommunications companies and intelligence agencies. This allowed the author to generate findings that were more than historical in nature, and, instead, point forward to possible future developments and policy actions. Ultimately, this is the point of good political science writing and is something for which the author thoroughly deserves recognition with this award.

Mauro is past-President of Irish Network Boston, a Director of the Wild Geese Network of Irish Scientists, a board advisor to both The Frederick Douglass- Daniel O’Connell Project the Gaelic Players Association New England. Dr. Mauro received a “Top 40 Under 40” in Irish-America award in 2013.

Category Spotlight: Medical Sciences

We developed our Medical Sciences Category to incorporate other health disciplines, such as dentistry and veterinary science, alongside Medicine and Medical Science. Pre- Med students can also submit to this category. The category was first introduced in 2012.

Entries for this category must be within the 12,000 word limit, and have received a 2.1/A grade.

In 2016 the Global Winner in this category  was Maniragav Manimaran from University College London. His paper, “Developing an Ultrasound Phantom Using 3D Printing for Practicing Minimally Invasive Intracardiac Procedures”, impressed the Judging Panel with its “novelty and flair”. It received particular praise for;

“The ingenuity of the idea, the process that had been applied to realise that idea and then the efforts to validate it”.

Other successful papers in this category have confirmed the validity of MRI as a surveillance tool for renal disease (Conor MacDonald, St Andrews; 2015 Global Winner), and investigated oncolytic virotherapy treatments for ovarian cancer (Milani Sivapragasam, Western University; 2014 Global Winner).

We are looking forward to receiving submissions to this year’s Medical Sciences category and seeing the cutting-edge research that is being conducted around the world by undergraduate students from classes of 2017, 20018 and 2019.

If you would like to submit to this category, or any other, please click here.

Category Spotlight: Law

Law has been a category at The Undergraduate Awards since its inaugural year.

This category is for undergraduate students of Law and Pre-Law. Entrants must submit an abstract of between 100-300 words long, and the word count is 2,500 – 5,000 words.

The submitted assignments must have been written during the entrants undergraduate career, and have achieved a grade of 2.1/A- or higher.

In 2017 the category was won by Kathy Liu, from Australian National University, with her paper, “Moral Emotions and Restorative Justice: A Legal-Psychological Analysis of the Role of Shame and Guilt in the Restorative Justice Process in Offender Rehabilitation“.

Her essay highly impressed the judges,  who commented on her assignment stating:

I have read this essay a number of times and I am impressed with its sophistication – both in its research quality and comparative analysis. I believe its is a worthy and novel angle to take on this topic from criminology and the criminal law.

In 2016, Jacqueline Williams from Australian National University won the Law category with her paper, “The Enforcement Regime of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) under Chapter 7 of the Corporations Act: Reform Required“, which is a fascinating read.

With only 4 weeks left until the submission deadline on 12 June, we look forward to reading all the new research in Engineering from undergraduate students around the globe.

If you are interested in submitting to the category, click here.



Category Spotlight: Engineering

Engineering has been a category at The Undergraduate Awards since its inaugural year.

This category is open to all students of Engineering, including those of Computer and Systems Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering, Quantity Surveying, Construction, Built Environment and more.

Entries for this category must be within the 12,000-word limit and have received a 2.1/A- grade.

In 2016, Sheng Rong Fang from Nanyang Technological University was the Global Winner of the category. His paper, titled “Development of Shape Memory Zirconia Particles and Powder Compacts“, was unanimously praised by the judges, who said:

It is an excellent and comprehensive piece of work. The submission presents the motivation and context of the work very clearly and the methodological rigour and effort undertaken were well noticed by all judges. The author has made attempts to develop a deep insight into the work and has summarised the findings clearly, while outlinging future works. As a piece of undergraduate research, it will continue to inspired.

Nikhil Jacob, the European Regional Winner of the Engineering category attended the UA Global Summit in November 2016 in Dublin, and has some inspiring words to say about the experience.

With only 4 weeks left until the submission deadline on 12 June, we look forward to reading all the new research in Engineering from undergraduate students around the globe.

If you are interested in submitting to the category, click here.

Category Spotlight: Computer Sciences

The Computer Sciences category has been in The Undergraduate Awards since its inaugural year.

Students of all Computer Sciences disciplines, including Computer Systems, Coding Languages, Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence and more are eligible to submit works to the category.

Entries for the category must be within the 12,000-word limit and have received at least a 2.1/A- grade.

In 2016, the category was won by Tomas Higgins from the Dublin Institute of Technology. His paper, titled “Identifying Mood by Analysing Keystroke Dynamics”, highly impressed the Judging Panel, who commented:

This paper paves the way for novel societal contribution in the field of Computer Sciences by analysing how IT systems might be able to recognise human moods. It provides an excellent and accessible discourse on the author’s research motivation, hypothesis and evaluation. The judging panel chose this excellent paper, not simply for its own merit, but also because it demonstrates a method through which technology could be put to use to achieve individual and societal benefits.


Dinh Luan Nguyen from Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh, won the award in 2017 for his paper “Deep Convolutional Neural Network In Deformable Part Models For Face Detection”,which is a fascinating read.

We are very excited to receiving submissions for this year’s Computer Sciences category and reading innovative research from undergraduate students around the world.



If you would like to find out how to submit to The Undergraduate Awards 2018 click here.

If you would like to read any of the Global Winners or Highly Commended papers go to The Undergraduate Awards Library.

Category Spotlight: Architecture & Design

A jewellery design by Chloe Lewis from University of Dundee. Chloe was the Europe Regional Winner of Visual Arts and Design, 2016

The Architecture & Design category was first introduced at The Undergraduate Awards 2017.

Previously, students with work related to design could submit to the Visual Arts & Design category (now Visual Arts) but there was little opportunity for students of Architecture to submit to The Undergraduate Awards. We introduced this category to celebrate the work of students studying courses such as Architecture, Construction, Environmental Design, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Design, Product Design etc.

Barry Sheehan from Dublin Institute of Technology, Chair of the Visual Arts & Design 2016 has commented that:

Architecture thrives on competitions, it is how most architects establish themselves in the profession. Winning is habit-forming and entering competitions as early as possible is essential.

Architecture & Design is a portfolio-based category. Entrants can submit up to 10 images and an accompanying statement of between 300 and  1,500 words explaining their work. Submissions to this category do not need an abstract.

If you would like to find out how to submit to The Undergraduate Awards 2018 click here.

If you would like to read any of the Global Winners or Highly Commended papers go to The Undergraduate Awards Library.

Judging Chair Spotlight: Danné Ojeda (Visual Arts Category)

This year we are welcoming back Danné Ojeda as Judging Chair of the Visual Arts category.

Danné Ojeda is Associate Professor in the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Danné Ojeda’ s work engages contemporary communication design, art practice and theory. She was a UNESCO research fellow at the Jan van Eyck Academy, Institute for Research and Production in Fine Art, Graphic Design and Theory, Maastricht, NL. In 2003, she founded d-file Graphic Design Studio in Amsterdam, from which she has mainly worked for and collaborated with cultural institutions that include the Singapore Art Museum (SAM), the Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, the National Institute of Fine Arts, Mexico, among others. Danné has published, lectured on and curated exhibitions related to contemporary art and design. Her design works have been recognised with the Good Design Award (USA), Red Dot Design Award: Communication Design (DE), A’ Design Award (IT), among others. Her complete publications and exhibition design oeuvre commissioned by the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) was awarded with Asia’s Top Designers Award, Singapore Design Award 2014.

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