UA Blog

Judging Chair Spotlight: Azwinndini Muronga (Mathematics & Physics)

Professor Azwinndini Muronga is the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. This year marks his third year as Judging Chair in the Mathematics & Physics category at The Undergraduate Awards (UA), and we are delighted to have Nelson Mandela University as a UA Affiliate institution.

Professor Muronga is a theoretical physicist, who started his tertiary education at the University of Venda, Limpopo, South Africa, where he obtained with a BSc degree in Mathematics and Physics and a University Education Diploma. He then studied at the University of Cape Town where he obtained Honours in Physics and MSc in Physics. After completing his studies at the University of Cape Town hesubsequently went on to study at the University of Minnesota where he obtained his PhD in Physics. 

Azwinndini then did his postdoctoral training at the University of Frankfurt and at GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Germany.

In 2005 he took up a position of Senior Lecturer in the Physics Department of the University of Cape Town. In October 2010 he joined the University of Johannesburg as an Associate Professor of Physics and concurrently as the Director of Soweto Science Centre – before moving to Nelson Mandela University as the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science.

Professor Muronga's own research field lies in the intersection of nuclear physics, particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology, studying the nature and properties of hot and dense matter in heavy ion collisions and astrophysics.

Apart from his own research interests, Prof Muronga is also an outstanding and recognised science educator and communicator, with a strong passion for, and interest in, public engagement with science , particularly the rural and disadvantaged communities.

Every year UA invites cross-disciplinary and cross- cultural esteemed academics to the world's largest virtual academic judging process.
 If you are interested in becoming a judge for UA 2018, please email or complete this form.



Where Are They Now Wednesday- Surer Mohamed

Surer Mohamed, from Western University, was a Highly Commended entrant at the Undergraduate Awards (UA) 2014, for her paper 'The Trouble with 'Tribe': Beyond a Monocausal Explanation for Ethnicized Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa' in the Politics & International Relations category.

Category Spotlight: Nursing, Midwifery & Allied Healthcare

This category is for students of nursing, midwifery, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, sport science etc.
Medical students should submit to Medical Sciences and students of Pharmacy should submit to Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sciences.

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

Word Count: 2,500 – 5,000

The Nursing, Midwifery & Allied Healthcare category began was first introduced at the Undergraduate Awards 2014, in response to a growing interest from students within the related fields. Last year's winning paper was submitted by Amy Lewis of Western University, Canada with a paper entitled 'Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Initiatives for Inuit Youth in Canada'. The paper explores the negative impact that the loss of culture and community in the post-colonial era has had on the wellbeing and mental health of Canada's Indigenous peoples, particularly among the youth.

In conclusion, Amy argues that suicide has many contribution factors, with the themes of peer and intergenerational discord recurring among Inuit suicide statistics. To tackle this, the paper argues that sociopolitical action must go hand in hand with preventative measures such as guidance from elders and a focus on mental health initiatives.

According to the judges, Amy's paper was an excellent review of the issues, that include major policy implications for not only the nursing profession, but also the provincial and political systems:

"Indigenous health is a global health issue, with the impacts of colonisation being experienced globally. The loss of Indigenous ways of knowing, experiences of cultural erasure, and the effects on young people today make this paper, while set in Canada, extremely relevant to populations globally."

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Jasmine Lee

Jasmine Lee from Nanyang University, was a Highly Commended entrant in 2015 in the Gender Studies & Anthropology category, with her paper " In today's post-Mao era, are females in China still limited by their gender in achieving the aims of education?' 

Category Spotlight: Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sciences

This category is for students of Chemical Sciences and Pharmacy, including Pharmacodynamics and Toxicology.
Students of Biology or Biochemistry please submit to Life Sciences

Judging Chair Spotlight: Barry Sheehan (Architecture & Design)

We are thrilled to have Barry Sheehan back as Judging Chair of Architecture & Design for The Undergraduate Awards 2018.

Word Count Requirements Updated For Undergraduate Awards 2018

Word Count Limits

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Will Heegaard

Will Heegaard from University of California, Berkeley was Highly Commended in the Politics and International Relations Category in 2013.

Category Spotlight: Classical Studies and Archaeology

 “I believe that the more you know about the past, the better you are prepared for the future"        ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Category Spotlight: Business

Business is a popular category for submissions at The Undergraduate Awards, with entries covering a multitude of topics within the subject. Business originally shared a category with economics but due to the wealth of submissions in both disciplines, they each became categories in their own right in 2014.  This category has seen some pioneering studies over the years and todays post will focus on some of the winning and highly commended submissions in recent years that used the their papers to shine a light on poignant social problems such as gender inequality, blood donation shortages and pollution.