Alumni News

Western Researchers Examine Unique Needs of Youth in Mental Health Treatment

Researchers from Western University and the Lawson Health Research Institute have been looking into the importance of youth-focused mental health programmes. They have become increasingly aware that adolescents with mental health concerns can often require different forms of treatment to those used with adults.

This has emerged partially after a study examined the experiences of youth at London Health Sciences Centre in Ontario. They were attending London’s First Episode Mood and Anxiety Program (FEMAP), an innovative program with an open door model for young people affected by mood and anxiety concerns. It’s set up in such a way that they can get the right care without a doctor referral.

The team of researchers at Western were led by Dr. Elizabeth Osuch, Associate Professor in the department of Psychiatry at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. They looked at the needs of young adults in treatment, and what is difficult or challenging for them with the view to tailoring the FEMAP program. The basic principle is finding out from the people being treated what they find helpful for their mental health.

The results showed that young adults identified therapy or talking and medication as both the most beneficial and most challenging aspects. Dr. Osuch said that it’s a rich finding to see that the most difficult thing “is also where your power is”. The team also discovered that females and males discussed the treatment process differently. Females identified “talking” as most helpful while males referred to “therapy” as the most beneficial contributor towards recovery. The feedback from the researchers is that the language used could be tailored towards the needs of the person. “Personal accountability” was consistently identified as one of the most challenging elements. The first author of the study, Carolyn Summerhurst believes this is important as it helps clinicians know that they must prepare young people to “play a big role in their own recovery” rather than taking a more passive approach.

The Undergraduate Awards:

The needs of young people is always important to the team here at UA, and it’s wonderful to see important research like this coming out of Partner universities like Western. We’re looking forward to meeting the 2016 entrants to our awards who are creating interesting research of their own, many of them at a relatively young age in their academic careers. Congratulations to everyone who got their submissions in before the deadline. The judging process is now underway and we look forward to contacting those with successful entries to the competition at the end of the summer!

KAU Students Win International Prizes for Scientific Breakthrough

Students from King Abdulaziz University who made an international scientific breakthrough and won several prizes and medals at the Geneva International Creation Exhibition 2016 visited the Emir of Makkah Region last week. The successful students were accompanied by KAU President, Prof. Abdulrahman Al Youbi. They visited HRH Prince Khalid Al Faysal, the Advisory to the Custodian of two mosques, who gave out certificates to the winning students of the awards.

KAU participated in the Geneva International Creation Exhibition 2016 with five student teams who were all awarded international prizes and medals at the awards ceremony in April 2016. Among the awarded were three gold medals, a silver and a bronze medal, along with two special prizes.

KAU views these scientific breakthroughs as a result of their efforts in focusing on international competition orientation, and the promotion of the creative capabilities of students in scientific research. This has been done through their Dean of Students Affairs along with promotion by individual Faculties.

Prof. Al Youbi expressed his gratitude for the fact that resources are made available to support the talents of young students nationwide, along with thanking HRH Prince Khalid Al Faysal for his support for KAU educational programs and initiatives. In return, he praised the breakthrough achieved by KAU students and their excellence in research.

The Undergraduate Awards

It’s always terrific to see groundbreaking research being completed and recognised at our Partner and Affiliate universities. We know that many students have their own papers or projects which deserves to be rewarded. If you have coursework from your undergraduate degree, submit today! The deadline closes at 11.59pm tonight so it’s your final chance to award your work in the 2016 programme.


UA for Penultimate & Final Year Students and 2015 Graduates

Most of you are likely aware by now that The Undergraduate Awards initiative is open to penultimate and final year students. We recognise that while there are many awards competitions for students who are further along in their academic careers, very few consider the achievements that are taking place in undergraduate degree programme across the world.

We have encountered many graduates who are proud of work they did over the course of their undergraduate degree. Whether it be final year projects or a particularly compelling research paper, some have expressed regret at not having entered The Undergraduate Awards when they had the opportunity.

Due to this, we would like to remind all students and academics that UA is also open to 2015 graduates. We know the pressure of final year can lead to complete focus on getting good grades. That is why we like to give graduate students an extra year to reflect on what they’re proud of from their time as an undergrad. So if you finished up in 2015, there’s still time for you to submit your coursework and potentially win an academic award for it!

Koh Chee Siang and Xin Ouyang (HC, NTU)

Past Entrants

Are you now thinking ‘well I’ve submitted to The Undergraduate Awards before’? Not a problem! As long as you continue to be eligible, you can submit across multiple years. We strongly encourage 2015 graduates to submit again this year, it’s your last opportunity and the process is fairly simple. If you’ve entered the competition before, you’ll know that all we ask for is coursework you’ve already completed as part of your degree. You can submit up to three papers or projects into one, two or three of our 25 categories. The only criteria are the word count which can be found for each category here and that the paper received a II.1/A-Grade or higher.


What are the perks?

As a winner, you are recognised as one of the most impressive students in your field; you become part of our alumni network; your winning paper is published in our academic journal; and you receive a ticket to the UA Global Summit in Dublin. Shortlisted students who are in the top 10% are also recognised for their excellence. They will receive a certificate for their research and are eligible to purchase a ticket for the summit, along with becoming members of the UA Alumni network.

You might be working now and feel like your academic career is behind you or maybe you’ve moved on to a new academic programme. Nevertheless, you have nothing to lose by entering your work to UA and it could open up new postgraduate opportunities you were never aware of. You put in a lot of work during all those years of your degree, now why not potentially have that effort recognised by academics in your field? There’s two weeks left before the June 14th deadline so get those submissions ready!


DIT & Purdue sign new Memorandum of Understanding

Dublin Institute of Technology’s President, Professor Brian Norton, visited Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana along with a DIT delegation and signed an agreement with Purdue President Mitch Daniels. This agreement will expand on collaborative efforts between Purdue and DIT for more than ten years.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) has begun the process of setting up many new benefits of the ongoing relationship between the two institutions. These include the exchange of students, staff and faculty; collaborative research projects between Purdue and DIT; the exchange of publications, reports and other academic information; collaborative personal development; and a system where DIT and Purdue entrepreneurs would switch desks for a set period of time.

Professor Norton was invited to speak on two different topics over the course of the visit. Firstly, he talked about the transformation of higher education in Europe to faculty and associate deans for academic affairs. He went on to give a research presentation on “Optimized Harnessing of Heat, Clearness and Spectrum in Solar Energy Devices”.

Professor Norton also announced that the Marriott Foundation has decided to fund five DIT Hospitality students every four years for a semester-long exchange at Purdue’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Through Study Abroad scholarships, undergraduate students at Purdue who participate in semester-long programs qualify for up to $3000 towards travel and living expenses.

Following the visit to Purdue University, Professor Norton will attend a reception for DIT graduates in the IDA offices in Chicago. Over seventy graduates will attend the event where Irish Consul General, Orla McBreen, will be guest of honour.

Deadline Extended to June 14th!

We know it’s a busy time of year for many of you. With exams and assignments all due at once, it might be hard to consider doing anything else right now. That’s why we’re announcing that the Deadline for The Undergraduate Awards 2016 programme has been extended to Tuesday 14th of June 2016. You have four weeks remaining to submit your best coursework to the UA programme. Submit work you have already done and make your coursework go further.

WHY Should I submit?

As a winner, you are recognised as one of the most impressive students in your field; you become part of a network of outstanding Winners of The Undergraduate Award from around the world; your winning paper is published in our academic journal, and you receive a ticket to the exclusive UA Global Summit in Dublin. Shortlisted students who are in the top 10% of all submissions are also recognised for their excellence, which can be a significant catalyst when pursuing further studies or your chosen career.

HOW do I apply?

If you would like to submit your work to The Undergraduate Awards you can do so here on the UA Form. If you are not ready to submit your work just yet, you can simply register your details on the UA Form and upload your paper at a later date. Once registered, your place will be saved until June 14th 2016.


WHO is UA for?

UA is open to all  graduates of 2015, 2016 and 2017 – that is all penultimate and final year students, as well as 2015 graduates, of all disciplines.

WHAT do I apply with?

Individual undergraduate coursework which received a II.1 or higher (A-grade).

You have a little more time but since you’ll be entering coursework you’ve already completed, why not submit it now? If you have up to three papers ready to go, submit today to create some new opportunities for yourself!

Alumni Questionnaire: Organising Your Study Space

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s the end of another week and that means more results from our alumni questionnaire. Since a lot of students are in the middle of exams right now, this week’s topic is organising your study space. The alumni came back to us with many different options for the perfect study session along with some reliable favourites.

  1. Find good lighting: Being in a dark corner isn’t likely to make you feel positive towards your studies. Find somewhere that will get at least a little sun or has bright lighting. Natural light is always better but anything that prevents you sitting in a drab environment is beneficial.
  2. Make it tidy and spacious: For a lot of us, it’s difficult to work in a cramped or messy area. Take a few minutes to clean up your space so it’s a pleasant location to work in. Make it somewhere that you’re relatively happy to sit for several hours of your day.
  3. Choose the perfect chair: Ideally, your study chair should be as comfortable and supportive as possible. During exam and essay season, you’re going to spending a lot of time sitting in that seat so make it the right one for you.
  4. Check you have all the right stationary: The last thing you need when you’re in the swing of studying is for it to come to a halt because you’re missing something small but crucial. Do a quick check that you’re prepared with whatever stationary you’ll require and if you’re using a laptop, keep the charger close to your desk.
  5. Bring textbooks: Take a moment and think about any research you might have to do. Getting up every few minutes to go in search of the book that has just the right quote isn’t the most productive academic style. Pile up all the books you could need for the topics you’re focusing on somewhere close to your study space so you can keep your mind focused.


6. Music: Not everyone works best with music but if you like a bit of background noise, consider what type of music is going to be the least distracting. For many it’s instrumental or classical but it could be acoustic songs or simply a playlist of very familiar music. Anything that will keep you concentrating is a good choice.

7. Clear the space: The unnecessary things around you are going to be what distract you when you’re working. Before you start, remove whatever you don’t need. You’ll likely have enough study materials piled up so get rid of that unnecessary clutter. Even better, get an app to block social media and other time consuming website while you’re working.

8. Search for silence: Well, maybe not quite silence but do try to find somewhere with as little disturbance as possible. Particularly keep away from places that you’re likely to be interrupted or distracted by other people.

9. Prepare drinks: You need to keep hydrated to maintain that focus. Some people need the caffeine boost to keep going but coffee is not the best for positive concentration. Herbal teas or water are preferable options for a calm study session.

10. Choose wherever works for you: From people who like the classic desk environment to the students who sit on their bed and the ones who need to move from place to place, everyone has their own opinion about where the ideal study location is. The most important thing is deciding what works best for you!


The Undergraduate Awards:

As you’re getting those final assignments in or even receiving the results, why not also enter them to the Undergraduate Awards? Remember you can submit up to three papers or projects!

Alumni Questionnaire: Beating Procrastination

It’s week two of our alumni questionnaire results and this week we’re tackling procrastination. At this time of year, procrastination is the last thing students need and the alumni came back to us with their tips for getting through it to finish those assignments.

  1. Breaks are necessary – Trying to power through and get everything done might work for a small number of people but for most of us, it’ll lead to being burnt out. That just means more procrastination down the line as you try to get the energy to study. Make sure to take regular breaks away from your workspace, stay hydrated and go back to it when you’re refreshed.
  2. Reward yourself – Commit to getting your work done with the knowledge you can do something you enjoy guilt-free at the end of it.
  3. To-do lists – Ticking something off a list as finished can be incredibly rewarding, and it gives you a plan of how to get all of your assignments done. Even better if you can set rough times or dates as guidelines for yourself.
  4. Location, location, location – Study at a place which allows you to concentrate as much as possible. For some people that could be the library but it could also be the local coffee shop, your bedroom or even outdoors if the weather is good enough.
  5. Do anything – Sometimes it’s all about getting started. One respondent recommended telling yourself that you’re only going to work for 25 minutes and then reevaluating. A lot of the time you’ll find you’re already settled into the zone of being productive.
  6. Turn your phone off – This applies to phone distractions but also to social media. There are apps out there to block certain websites for a set amount of time. If you find yourself endlessly scrolling through social media or checking your messages, this might be a good tip for you.
  7. Set manageable goals – There’s no point in setting yourself three days work to be done in an afternoon. You’ll end up disappointed and potentially uninspired to get more completed the next day. Make sure you’re only setting yourself what you can actually do and taking a break after that.
  8. Don’t guilt yourself for procrastinating – Sometimes it’s just one of those days or you need a couple of hours before you can get around to studying. Don’t make yourself feel bad, just make sure you commit to it when you can focus.
  9. Get fresh air – Even a short stroll down the street can make all the difference in refreshing your mind with a new perspective and helping you get back to it after your break.
  10. Enjoy your work space – Set up a designated area to get your assignments done. Try to make it a tidy, pleasant place to be but also have it be a space you can step away from when you’re done if possible.

Despite these great tips from our alumni, sometimes you just can’t get in the zone. If you are taking a break or trying to avoid studying, make it productive procrastination by entering the coursework you’ve already completed to The Undergraduate Awards right here. You never know, maybe that bit of inescapable procrastination will win you an academic award!

Alumni Questionnaire: Finalising UA Submissions

The questionnaire results are in! We surveyed our alumni and we’re going to bring you some of the interesting information we found out over the next few weeks. This week it’s all about our favourite tips from our alums on how to finalise your submissions for the Undergraduate Awards.

  1. Don’t underestimate yourself – Many past Winners and Highly Commended applicants never expected that they’d win a programme like UA. If you’re getting good grades, it’s definitely worth taking a chance.
  2. Give in more than one submission – A couple of our alumni expressed regret for not handing in three submissions when they had the opportunity. Not all of the winning papers are a thesis or final year project so why not increase your chances by sending in multiple papers?
  3. Proofread – A lot of respondents came back on the questionnaire saying they’ve since noticed frustrating errors on their submissions. Make sure you read it a couple of times or get somebody else to read your paper before sending it our way.
  4. Be original and submit something you’re proud of – Not everything has to be your highest graded paper. We appreciate if they’re of a II.1 or upward standard but it’s better if it’s also a paper or project that stands out to you.
  5. Don’t change it too much – Spend a little bit of time going through and editing your paper if you think it can be improved but try not to overthink it. Have confidence in your work and get it submitted.
  6. Ask somebody to read it for you – Whether it’s getting some extra feedback from a professor or asking a friend to read your paper, it’s always good to have a fresh set of eyes.
  7. Dedicate some time to the abstract – The abstract is the first impression anyone will have of your submission. It should be a succinct summary or synopsis to give the judges an idea of the purpose of your paper.
  8. Check the criteria – Have a look at the submission guide and the eligibility criteria. It’s such a shame to have high quality work but not get to the judging stage because of word count or anonymity issues. It only takes a couple of minutes to check these things but it could make all the difference.
  9. Don’t wait until the day of the deadline – It’s an easy process so if you have course work completed, why not get it in now? Anything that can be done quickly and easily during this busy time of the year is a plus.
  10. Just submit, you could be the next winner!

That last one is the tip we heard most in the questionnaire. Participation in UA only benefits you so it’s worth the few minutes it takes to submit. If you’re ready to get a paper in now, you can do that right here or any time before the May 31st deadline.

The Undergraduate Awards: Unifying the World via the Brightest Young Minds – My Experience

Oluwaseun Aladeboyeje writes about his experience at the UA Global Summit 2014 and his first visit to Europe.

The Undergraduate Awards (UA) is an inspiring as well as impactful program which will hopefully be sustained and consolidated to make the world a better place.

This program promotes innovation amongst the future leaders, i.e. the youth whose brilliant research findings could provide solutions to the world’s challenges such as poverty, hunger, emerging diseases, ethnic conflicts, terrorism and insecurity. The publication of  works of these bright students in The Undergraduate Journal contributes substantially to the body of knowledge in their various disciplines. Most importantly, the unique 3/4-day global summit that brings together the most innovative students from every corner of the globe to Dublin is a complementary initiative to the efforts of the likes of the United Nations towards promoting global unity.

The 2014 summit experience being my first trip out of Africa to Europe gave me a better understanding as well as a concrete and realistic view about the world itself as opposed to the initial abstract knowledge I used to have about our planet. In addition, I was exposed to different climate, cultures and diets which are rarely obtainable on the African soil and I believe that this alone is a vital education which everyone ought to acquire in life. As the only Nigerian student, I was privileged to mingle and interact intimately with other great minds from North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, which to a large extent raised my self esteem, making me feel like a worthy ambassador of the African continent.

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 4.31.31 PMFurthermore, I feel accomplished that my selection in the 2014 UA as the first Nigerian student since inception of such intercontinental academic contest has earned my home country a great honour and recognition. I felt particularly elated as a Nigerian when the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Mairead Corrigan Maguire who delivered the summit opening address, emphatically acknowledged the presence of Nigeria for the first time in the UA, which diverted everyone’s attention to me with cheers!

Nigeria was further honoured when I confidently stood on the podium at Google Foundry to present my winning paper in front of my foreign counterparts as well as the international speakers. The recognition which I have earned for my country is also evident on the UA Website which now has on its 2015 registration portal about 10 Nigerian universities in addition to my alma mater, University of Ilorin. Moreover, the news of my selection as the first Nigerian Highly Commended Entrant in the 2014 Undergraduate Awards flooded Nigeria’s most popular online social forum (Nairaland) and this has gone a long way in promoting UA in Nigeria and I am proud to have been the trailblazer of UA in Nigeria.

In conclusion, The Undergraduate Awards has made a tremendous positive impact on my life. Today, I am building on my singular achievement with UA which is supported by its network of Speakers, Judges, Partners and Alumni, to advance my academic and professional career. I now use my UA Certificate as an additional document to enhance my CV, and it distinguishes me from the crowd. Since November 2014 following the summit, I have completed my mandatory one year national service which ended in October. Now that I have completed my service, I will be travelling to the United Kingdom to pursue my Master’s degree. I am optimistic that the Undergraduate Awards could provide an invaluable platform to catalyze the change we desire in our generation.

Up UA! Keep the flag flying.

Highlights from UA Global Summit 2014 from the History Category Overall Winner 2014

Daniel McKay was awarded a prize for his essay ‘Dust and Bluster: An Historical Evaluation of the Political Discourse on Drought in Australia’ at The Undergraduate Awards in 2014. His essay has been published in The Undergraduate Journal and the Burgmann Journal.

Report on the UA Global Summit 2014

The unexpected is what makes history so exhilarating. The thrill is in the chase, as one hunts down forgotten, unknown or hidden stories in the dusty depths of libraries and archives. You never know what you’ll find, or what twists and turns the story will take. However, when I began to research the story of political responses to the Australian experience of drought for a history course, it was wholly unexpected that my research would eventually lead to winning the Historical Studies category of The Undergraduate Awards and receiving a free trip to Dublin to accept a gold medal.

All good stories begin with an even bigger story. History is all about finding and telling such stories, of the people and places that have shaped the world around us. ‘Research’ is such a thunderously dull term for something so exciting. The remarkable Frank Bongiorno demonstrated this in his course on Australian political history, making the stories of our political institutions and politicians come alive. Encouraged to find our own topics for the research essay, I began researching political responses to the Australian experience of drought since European colonisation. This project had particular personal resonance, as I had grown up on a family farm in rural New South Wales during the long drought of the 2000s. As a member of the seventh generation of our family to live on the property, I knew that my experience fitted into a much longer history. My reflections turned to the wider Australian experience of an environmental variability that we take for granted in a ‘land of droughts and flooding rains’. The story of how our political system has responded can only really be told by stepping back from individual droughts and looking at patterns over time.

Entering The Undergraduate Awards is a simple affair. So simple that, months down the track when I received a call from Ireland, I’d largely forgotten even entering. It seemed quite unreal, but after flying into Dublin the day after my last exam, the Irish welcome I received at the Global Summit was an utterly unforgettable experience. Each stage of the summit came in a magnificent historical setting: Dublin Town Hall, Iveagh House, Farmleigh House, Trinity College and Christchurch Cathedral. Locations that over the course of the summit The ANU Undergraduate Research Journal 14 were peopled with brilliant delegates and guest speakers from around the world. Every room was full of a bright and bubbling optimistic chatter, as people discovered each other’s research and plans for the future. The diverse range of guest speakers brought another dimension to the discussion – hearing from, amongst others, the filmmaker Lord Puttnam, entrepreneur Ingrid Vanderveldt, and former Harvard librarian Helen Shenton. Each had a fascinating story of how they had made careers out of curiosity and ideas.

On the last day of the Global Summit, we were each given the opportunity to present our research in the auditorium at the Google Headquarters. With limited time, and with an interest in sharing some of Australia’s best art to an international audience, I used a selection of famous paintings from our national collections to convey the sense of changing understandings of environment and drought which they captured. From the bucolic arcadias of John Glover, to the more realistic treatments of the Australian landscape in the impressionism of Arthur Streeton, and finally the confronting imagery of Sidney Nolan, we can see an evolution not just in aesthetics, but a total cultural shift in our ways of seeing our environment.

The Global Summit ended on a high, with a black tie award ceremony in Christchurch Cathedral. Winners from each category were presented with a gold medal by Patricia O’Brien, the Irish Ambassador to the United Nations, as well as having their work published in The Undergraduate Journal. The  evening finished with a magical dinner in the crypt of Christchurch Cathedral. The sight of everyone seated around a long white table that snaked its way through the undercroft, between the arches and great white marble eighteenth-century tombs, illuminated by unseen lights, will long be etched in my memory.

If I had deliberately set out to write a ‘winning’ essay, I would never have been so fortunate. Good research comes about by finding something that you are passionately curious or intrigued by. In the case of history, that’s following an interesting story and working out what that tells us about ourselves. If you find something fascinating, chances are someone else will too. It is such a chance that is worth pursuing: entering The Undergraduate Awards is easy, the hard work of researching and writing for your essay is already done. By taking the time to fill out a form and upload a file, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. You may well just have an unexpected story of your own to tell.

Bibliography: McKay, Daniel (2013). Dust and Bluster: An historical evaluation of the political discourse on drought in Australia. Burgmann Journal (2) 33–39. McKay, Daniel (2014). Dust and Bluster: An Historical Evaluation of the Political Discourse on Drought in Australia. The Undergraduate Journal 6 311–319.

This text is taken from The ANU Undergraduate Research Journal, Volume Six, 2014, edited by Jonathon Zapasnik and Alexandra Hogan, published 2015 by ANU eView, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.


If you would like to submit your work to The Undergraduate Awards 2016 programme you can do so by clicking on the UA Form here. If you are not ready to submit work just yet, you can simply register your details on the UA Form and upload your paper later.

President Higgins will attend the UA Global Summit 2015

With the UA Global Summit less than a fortnight away, it is with the utmost excitement that The Undergraduate Awards can announce that the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, will be there to impart his wisdom onto our esteemed attendees this November.


With an occupational background firmly grounded in third-level education, it should come as no surprise that President Higgins has developed a formidable relationship with The Undergraduate Awards: he is the official patron of the programme, and presented the Winners’ medals at the Awards Ceremony in the UA Global Summit 2012. President Higgins’ association with The Undergraduate Awards serves as a rather apt illustration of the value he places on the creative, critical and courageous thinking of young individuals. No more were such values explicated than in his Presidential Inaugural speech where President Higgins spoke of the importance of individuals “making their own imaginative and practical contributions to our shared future”.


Such sentiments were reverberated in President Higgins’ address to our 2012 Winners, where he praised The Undergraduate Awards for its active recognition and commendation of the “emancipatory thinking” of students. In a post-financial collapse context, President Higgins spoke of the indispensable need for creativity and imagination (or cruthaitheacht agus samhlaíocht in Irish) to challenge “the perceived inevitabilities by which we live” and to devise new solutions to societal problems, whether they are economic, social or political. Indeed, President Higgins suggested that the sheer number of submissions that The Undergraduate Awards received was a testament to the ability of students to imagine and subsequently build a better world. In respect to this, the UA Team cannot wait to let President Higgins know that our submissions have doubled since his last visit!


We hope that The Undergraduate Awards continues to serve as a constant reminder, to both President Higgins and the greater academic community, of the vast wealth of intellect and innovation that lies within the heart of the undergraduate cohort.

President Higgins will address the UA Class of 2015 and bequeath 25 Overall Winners with Gold Medals of achievement at The Undergraduate Awards Ceremony in Dublin City Hall on November 11th, in an evening that promises to delight all those in attendance.




Photo: President Higgins and the Ancient & Classical Studies Category, Irish programme winner Neasa O’ Callaghan (2012).

Winning UA Campus Ambassador 2015!

Carly Mallise is the winning Campus Ambassador of The Undergraduate Awards 2015 programme. We are really looking forward to meeting Carly in person and welcoming her to Dublin (for her first time!). Carly has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of UA on her campus at the University of Newcastle, Australia. She has been awarded a free ticket to the UA Global Summit in Dublin, taking place in November 10th -13th – a four day event packed with brainstorms, inspiring speakers, collaborations and presentations!

Here are some of Carly’s initial thoughts about attending the Global Summit and coming to Ireland for the first time…


A Year of Firsts

2015 was the first year that my university, the University of Newcastle, became affiliated with the Undergraduate Awards. This means I am their first UA Campus Ambassador. As CA, I had to promote the UA on my campus, to try to get undergrad students to apply. This sounds relatively easy, but I am terrible at persuading people. However, I must have done a good job – look where it has gotten me! I get to go to Dublin for the first (hopefully not last) time to attend the prestigious UA Global Summit. And it is not just my first time to Dublin, this trip will mean I get to go overseas. Leave Australia. For. The. First. Time.

As I have never been overseas before, I cannot comprehend the notion of a 24-hour + flight. I’ve only ever been on a plane once, to the beautiful state of Tasmania, and it was only a 2-hour flight. “Will the person next to me be an armrest hog?” I ponder, “Will I be able to get some sleep?” I pray. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. What do you need to board a plane? A passport. Another first for me. So off I went to apply for that and received it a couple of weeks later. My first passport: all new and shiny. Well, as shiny as a passport can be.

I can’t speak for all Aussies but where I live, a t-shirt and jeans with a jacket is the heaviest I dress in winter. Some days (and this may shock you), I’ll bum around in denim shorts. So, I needed to buy a coat – apparently Dublin gets cold. My first ever coat. Now, I tried to “break it in” but it just wasn’t cold enough here to wear it more than a couple of times. There are also a bunch of other things on my ‘To Buy’ list, however I won’t bore you with all them (locks, toiletries, shower shoes, etc).

This brings me to my next first. I was a bit sceptical about staying in a hostel at first (this will be my first time, of course), not because of that awful movie but because I like my personal space and am kind of shy. (This can sometimes be perceived as unfriendly, but I’m not, so please say G’day!) So I’m more worried about not being able to sleep due to noise rather than someone chopping me up. I’ve kind of come to terms with this now (the hindrance to regular routine, not the murder part!) and I hope to be able to meet loads of new friends. Tonight, as the spring breeze carries the scent of jasmine through my window, I’m thinking about how in less than 1 month I’ll have finished my first degree. And then – I will be in Dublin waiting to try my first Guinness.


*Disclaimer* I am not a writer! I am a reader, so bear with me in my attempt to be orthographically creative.

Note from the editor: Don’t worry Carly, we will look after you in Dublin and do what we can to make sure you enjoy your time in Dublin! P.s The Generator is the coolest, swankiest accommodation in Dublin, check it out!

Would like to become a UA Campus Ambassador for the 2015/16 academic year? You could be in with a chance to win a free ticket to next year’s Global Summit, just like Carly. To apply, first check to see if your university/institution is affiliated with UA here.  If so, send an email to


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