UCD students claimed 11 of the 41 awards at the inaugural Irish Undergraduate Awards held last Tuesday, 20th October. President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, presented the students with their gold medals for excellence in their respective fields at the Royal Irish Academy on Dublin’s Dawson St.
The winners were selected through academic review process by 33 separate panels made up of academics and industry professionals. Each applicant submitted an essay or dissertation, originally prepared as coursework for an undergraduate programme, for review. Each of the winners received a gold medal, and their winning essays are to be published in an annual journal.
Winners from UCD came from a variety of faculties and schools ranging from Medicine to Law. Mark Canavan and Yvonne O’Reilly claimed awards for Arts and Humanities with essays for Politics and Sociology respectively. Health Sciences were also represented, by Brian MacGrory in Medicine and by Maria Jorsinski in Nursing.
Engineering prizes were claimed by Julie Clarke and Laura Hannigan, while Science prizes were won by Eva Darulova in Computer Science, Lynne O’Shea in Pharmacology and Niamh Parkinson of Biochemistry. Claire Fitzsimons also won for an essay in Agriculture, and Peter Dunne claimed an award in Law.
Presenting the awards, President McAleese had encouraging words for the various winners. “These awards encourage our top undergraduates to believe in the validity of their work and in their entitlement to a public place of respect within scholarly discourse.”
According to the President, the awards marked an important step forward in acknowledging the role played by undergraduates in advancing Ireland’s ambition to be not just a smart economy but a just, decent, and sophisticated society.
The Irish Undergraduate Awards were instituted last year, and recognise and reward Ireland’s most innovative young knowledge creators. The motive behind the awards is to enhance Ireland’s prospects of becoming a leading global knowledge economy by creating an entirely new and unique set of incentives and rewards for undergraduates.
A spokesperson for UCD stated that the University was “proud of the achievements of the 11 UCD undergraduate students who won Undergraduate Awards of Ireland.”