The UA Blog

Winners of The Undergraduate Awards 2015

Assessed by panels of international academics, two Winners were selected per academic category – the Overall Winner who will be published in The Undergraduate Awards Academic Journal and a Programme Winner, chosen from the international programme and from the island of Ireland programme.

Congratulations to this year’s Winners as well as the Highly Commended Entrants, we look forward to meeting you all in Dublin on the November 10th!


  • Overall Winner: Thomas Buisson, City University London
  • Winning Paper: ‘The Prominence of Hedge Fund Activism: The Impact of Agency Cost Reduction and Other Strategies on Target Company Share Price Performance’
  • Programme Winner: Orla Byrne, National College of Ireland
  • Winning Paper: ‘Widening Union Recognition And Collective Bargaining Would Do More To Tackle Low Pay And Poor Work Than Legal Regulation: Discuss With Reference To The Reform Of The JLC System’

Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sciences

  • Overall Winner: Ying Kai Loh, Nanyang Technological University
  • Winning Paper: ‘Capturing a Dicationic Phosphorus Mononitride Containing a P=N Double Bond’
  • Programme Winner: Daniel Kelly, Trinity College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: Characterisation Of Post-Mortem Electrodes Using Electron Microscopy’

Classical Studies & Archaeology

  • Overall Winner: Li Sou, Durham University
  • Winning Paper: New Light On Colour: A Study Of Polychromy On Neo-Assyrian Reliefs’
  • Programme Winner: Jonathon O’Rourke, National University of Ireland Galway
  • Winning Paper: ‘Self and the Other: The Construction of Barbarian Identity in Antiquity’

Computer Sciences

  • Overall Winner: Aleksejs Sazonovs, University of St. Andrews
  • Winning Paper: ‘A Metapopulation Model for Predicting the Success of Genetic Control Measures for Malaria’
  • Programme Winner: Deirdre Corr, Dublin Institute of Technology
  • Winning Paper: ‘Wearable Sleep Apnoea Detection System’

Earth & Environmental Sciences

  • Overall Winner: Katelin Hanson, University of Edinburgh
  • Winning Paper: ‘An Evaluation of the Offshore Wind Power Potential Utilizing Windfloat Technology in Coos Bay, Oregon’
  • Programme Winner: Karen O’Neill, University College Cork
  • Winning Paper: ‘Margaritifera Margaritifera in Lake Habitats’


  • Overall Winner: Rui Shi, Durham University
  • Winning Piece: ‘Income Inequality and Economic Growth – an Investigation’
  • Programme Winner: Rónán O’Connor, Trinity College Dublin
  • Winning Piece: ‘Unexpected Expectations: An Investigation of the Socioeconomic Factors that influence Parental Academic Expectations for their Child’


  • Overall Winner: Jane Hutchison, Western University
  • Winning Paper: ‘Bringing Neuroscience to the Classroom: A Case for the Value of Mind, Brain and Education’
  • Programme Winner: Sinéad Gaffney, St Angela’s College of Education Sligo
  • Winning Paper: ‘The Home Economics Teacher as Leader within the School Community: A Reflection’

Engineering & Built Environment

  • Overall Winner: Kam Sen Hao, Nanyang Technological University
  • Winning Paper: ‘Design and Fabrication of 3D Printed Car for the Shell Eco Marathon Asia Competition in Battery Electric Urban Concept Category’
  • Programme Winner: Mark Boland, Dundalk Institute of Technology
  • Winning Paper: ‘An Assessment of Seawall Overtopping at Blackrock Strand’

Gender Studies & Anthropology

  • Overall Winner: Joshua Fenzig, Yale University
  • Winning Paper: ‘Black Performativity, Unabashed Reflexivity, and Reclaiming the Public Sphere: An Evaluation of Emporia State’s Victory at the 2013 U.S. Collegiate National Debate Tournament’
  • Programme Winner: Anna Poloni, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Winning Paper: ‘Is Acceptance of a Biological Basis to Behavioural Differences Between Men and Women Compatible with a Feminist Political Stance?’


  • Overall Winner: Edward Davies, University of Edinburgh
  • Winning Paper: ‘A Regime of Censorship? The British Foreign Office, The Political Intelligence Department and News of the Final Solution, 1942-1943′
  • Programme Winner: Pamela Holmes, Trinity College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: ‘A View From the Skies: An Examination of the Development of Civil Aviation in Ireland in the 1930s’

Languages & Linguistics

  • Overall Winner: Ronan O’Brien, Princeton University 
  • Winning Paper: ‘Opportunity Be Knockin’: Race and Invariant Be in Hip-Hop Language’
  • Programme Winner: Niamh McShane, Trinity College Dublin 
  • Winning Paper: ‘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?’


  • Overall Winner: Matilda Gillis, Australian National University
  • Winning Paper: ‘No Peace for Women’
  • Programme Winner: Yewhoan Hong, Trinity College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: ‘Rewarping the Constitutional orbit: the Bohr Model of Contemporary Socio-Legal World’

Life Sciences

  • Overall Winner: Hana Sedlackova, Masaryk University
  • Winning Paper: ‘Role Of Recq4 Protein In Recombination And Dna Repair – Updated Version’
  • Programme Winner: Dylan Ryan, University College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: ‘A Biochemical Investigation into the Neuropathology of Cystinosis’

Literature 1710-Present

  • Overall Winner: Melissa Alexander, University of Strathclyde
  • Winning Paper: ‘The Phenomenology of Space in Literary Representation: The Experience of Presence and Perception’
  • Programme Winner: Cian O’Connor, University College Cork
  • Winning Paper: ‘Some Aspects of the Grotesque in the Short Fiction of Flannery O’Connor’

Literature Pre-1710

  • Overall Winner: Michelle Harder, Western University
  • Winning Paper: ‘As Lauce Leues of Pe Boke: Cleanness and the Perils of Vernacular Reading’
  • Programme Winner: Aedamar Kirrane, University College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: ‘The Dialectic of Silence in Chaucer’s The House of Fame’

Mathematics & Physics

  • Overall Winner: Eilidh Johnston, University of St. Andrews
  • Winning Paper: ‘DNA Assisted Fabrication of 3D Metamaterials’
  • Programme Winner: Cleo Harvey, Dublin City University
  • Winning Paper: ‘Characterisation of Metal Nanoparticles for Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS)’

Media & Journalism

  • Overall Winner: Carolina Are, City University London
  • Winning Paper: ‘Journalists’ Twitter Coverage of the Death of Margaret Thatcher’
  • Programme Winner: Guilia Luzi, Dublin City University
  • Winning Paper: ‘Hugo Chávez and the Media’ How was the Media used to Influence Public Opinion on Chávez and his Government?’

Medical Sciences

  • Overall Winner: Conor MacDonald, University of St Andrews
  • Winning Paper: ‘A Computational Validation of MRI as a Surveillance Tool for Vascular Access in End-Stage Renal Disease’
  • Programme Winner: Aisling McHugh, Trinity College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: ‘The Immunomodulatory Activities of Metformin’

Music, Film, Theatre & Art History

  • Overall Winner: Claire Dillon, Northwestern University
  • Winning Paper: ‘Empty Space and Identity Politics in the Work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Negation, Creative Reinterpretation, and Visual Rhyme’
  • Programme Winner: Matthew Malone, Trinity College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: ‘A New Dialogue: Angels In America and Reclaiming the American Theatre’

Nursing & Midwifery

  • Overall Winner: Marianne White, University of Dundee
  • Winning Paper: ‘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?’
  • Programme Winner: Veronica Mariz Pinto Scalco, Trinity College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: ‘Patients’ Views of Bedside Handover in Hospital: A Literature Review’

Philosophy & Theology

  • Overall Winner: Weng Kin San, Australian National University
  • Winning Paper: ‘Public Reason, Coercion, and Harm’
  • Programme Winner: Adam Gibbons, University College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: ‘Making Sense of the Sceptic: The Limits of Ordinary Language Responses to Scepticism’

Politics & International Relations

  • Overall Winner: Vincent Förster, University of St Andrews
  • Winning Paper: ‘Of Weight Loss, Stupidity and the Eurovision Song Contest – Humour as a Challenge to Dominant Interpretations of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Violent Past’
  • Programme Winner: Evie Smith, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Winning Paper: ‘Refugee Camps: A Critical Analysis of the Ethics and Power Relations Involved in these Spaces and the Effect of Temporality’


  • Overall Winner: Dayton Leow, Nanyang Technological University
  • Winning Paper: ‘Age-Related Changes in Relational Encoding’
  • Programme Winner: Katarzyna Rejkiewicz, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology
  • Winning Paper: ‘The Perceptions of Creativity Among Video Game Players: A Qualitative Approach’

Social Sciences

  • Overall Winner: Ruth Murphy, Trinity College Dublin
  • Winning Paper: ‘Revelations of an Anti-Genesis: the Muselmann, Primo Levi and Viktor Frankl’
  • Programme Winner: Camilla Devereux, University of Sussex
  • Winning Paper: ‘How might the Growth of Hip-Hop Culture Reflect the Experience of Contemporary Urban Life?’

Visual Arts & Design

  • Overall Winner: Megan Falconer, University of Dundee
  • Winning Paper: ‘Unexpected Surfaces’
  • Programme Winner: Rachel Doolin, Cork Institute of Technology
  • Winning Paper: ‘Promethean Illusions’
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