UA Blog

The Benefits of Submitting Your Work to The Undergraduate Awards

Classical Studies and Archaeology Global Winner Melanie Hechenberger of Monash University, recounts her experience at The Undergraduate Awards 2017 and the opportunities the programme has afforded her.

Being an undergraduate student nearing the end of your degree can be an unsettling experience. Doubts haunt the mind... What do good grades really count for? How does my work compare with that of students’ outside my institution who I will be competing with for job opportunities? Am I good enough to do postgraduate studies? Is there any point in continuing due to the restrictive job market? Many students with amazing potential have fallen by the wayside due to these doubts. This is why programs such as the Undergraduate Awards (UA) are so important! They are life changers and I can say that with certainty as UA changed my life.

Judging Chair Spotlight: James S. Etim

We are delighted to have Professor James S. Etim as the Judging Chair for the Education category again this year.

Dr. James S. Etim is a Professor of Education at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, USA.  His research interests are in four broad areas- English Language Arts in the Middle years, gender and education, teaching strategies and education across cultures. He has  authored  one book and  been editor or co-editor of seven books in the fields of education, gender studies and literacy. He has more than 50 journal articles and book chapters in both national and international journals. He is on the Editorial Board of three journals and a reviewer for several journals.

Category Spotlight: Education

The Education category has been in The Undergraduate Awards since its first year.

Students of all Education Theory and Practice disciplines, including Early Childhood Education, Adult Education, Philosophy of Education, History of Education and more are eligible to submit to the category.

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Maija Absetz

Maija Absetz, from the University of Helsinki, was Highly Commended in the History category in2016 for her paper: “Statistics as a rhetorical mode – The Meaning and Use of Statistics in the English 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act"

Category Spotlight: Economics

This category is for students of Economics, including Econometrics, Urban Economics, Labour Economics etc.

Entrants must submit an abstract of between 100-300 words long.

Word Count: 2,500 – 5,000

Judging Chair Spotlight: Andrea Nanetti (History category)

The Undergraduate Awards are delighted to have Dr. Andrea Nanetti back as the Judging Chair of the History Category this year.

Where Are They Now  Wednesday: Claire Errington

Claire Errington studied Law at the University of Durham and was Highly Commended in The Undergraduate Awards 2016 for her paper discussing the legal and historical dichotomy between the ‘object and effect’ of anti-competitive restraints on competition.

Judging Chair Spotlight: Davide Benvenuti (Music, Film & Theatre)

2017 was Davide's first year as the Judging Chair of the Music, Film & Theatre category. We are delighted to have him back again for The Undergraduate Global  Summit 2018.

Category Spotlight: Linguistics

This category is for students of Languages and Linguistics, including Phonetics, Phonology, Sociolinguistics, Syntax and Pedagogy.

All papers must be written in English or translated to English.

Papers which discuss literature should be submitted to the Literature category.

Entrants must submit an abstract of between 100-300 words long.

Read Alexandra Brito’s paper, Global Winner of Language & Linguistics 2017, here.

Word Count: 2,500 – 5,000

The 2015 Award Winner, Ronan O'Brien from Princeton University, penned a paper called "Opportunity Be Knockin': Race and Invariant Be in Hip-Hop Language" which looks at the linguistic construction known as "invariant be" one of the prominent features of African American English (AAVE) as well as Hip-Hop Language (HHL). Through the analysis of lyrics from a selection of rappers, the paper explores this feature.

2017's winning paper "Effects of Language Immersion versus Classroom Exposure on Advanced French Learners: An ERP Study" by Alexandra Brito of University of Tennessee, Knoxville, was a very illuminating study of L2. University students often report making significant advances in their second language (L2) ability after spending time abroad, immersed in a particular language. The degree to which late L2 learners can seem native like in terms of L2 performance and brain processing is unclear in second language acquisition research. Alexandra's study contrasts learners with advanced French proficiency who have attained this level with no, little, or more immersion experience through study abroad. By using empirical neurolinguistic techniques, she investigates the impact of immersion versus classroom experience on second language processing.

According to the judges this was an extremely interesting study which shed new light on the brain processing of L2. They went on to say:

"The author uses an intriguing and relatively novel neurolinguistic technique to investigate a question that not only is interesting in its own right but also has important implications for L2 pedagogy. Very interesting indeed."


 A Highly Commended paper from 2017, was Emma O'Neill from University of Edinburgh's submission " Breaking the Stigma: A corpus-based analysis of the changes in both the usage and semantics of the term mental health in modern day media". The paper investigates changes in the social perception toward mental health, through analysing the negative portrayal of mental health shown to exist in the media. The author examined whether the media's portrayal of mental health had shifted tone in recent years, possibly due to the increased  publicity of mental health awareness campaigns and organisations. The method of collating the data was to use word embeddings and compare the distances between vectors in multidimensional space.


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.

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Laura Collins

Laura Collins studied Biology at the University of St Andrews and was a Highly Commended Entrant of the Undergraduate Awards in 2015 for her paper “Garden birds and their use of provisioned water”. Changing behaviours in birds and community migrations can be seen as indicators of environmental health. Her study investigated whether fresh water increases the attractiveness of gardens to birds, how birds interact with different water sources and how water use varies between species. Laura argues that this area of research is pertinent as an understanding of effective water provisioning would be valuable since providing artificial sources of water in gardens may contribute vital resources to species of conservation concern, which rely on urban gardens as an important habitat.