Undergraduate Awards Summit Report

Following the completion of my BSc (Hons) at the Florey in mid-2018, I submitted my thesis to The Undergraduate Awards, an international competition to which one can submit any work assessed as part of an undergraduate degree. Luckily, I was a regional winner in the medical sciences category – so in late November 2018 I was fortunate enough to attend The Undergraduate Awards Seminar in Dublin.

Over 3 days we followed a schedule jam-packed with presentations and discussion panels composed of students and keynote speakers across a vast number of topics. They ranged from analyses of performance art to work outlining the prevention and responses to natural disasters. We also had a number of networking opportunities, including brief interviews with representatives from Ernst and Young, Jamieson and a number of other companies. Coffee breaks led to many interesting discussions with a wide breadth of undergraduate students from around the world. I was particularly fascinated by the approach that different areas of study took to research – whereas traditional sciences tended to be generally data/statistic based, some social sciences took a more anecdotal and focus-group based approach.
Unfortunately, I caught a brutal bout of laryngitis so I sounded like the Godfather and was unable to present. However, prior to that I had a chat to as many people as I could, be they service staff, fellow students, bus drivers, shopkeepers and even blokes I met at the gym! I’ve never been to a country where people were so open to having a chat, even about contentious topics such as the UK’s exit from the European Union and its implications for Ireland, the troubles and Ireland’s poverty-stricken history. I was also struck by the extraordinary kindness and generosity of the Irish people and I was shouted at least 10 pints of Guinness over the course of the trip!

I wholeheartedly recommend any undergraduate or honours students to submit their work to The Undergraduate Awards - and I have a number of people to thank for supporting me in this endeavour. Jen de Gabriele (Faculty of Science), Dr Chris French (Faculty of Medicine) and especially my project supervisors Dr Erin Campbell and Professor Andrew Lawrence from the Florey – I couldn’t have asked for more supportive mentors and I can’t stress enough how much instrumental they were in facilitating my concurrent academic and sporting endeavours.

Jeremy Flanagan, Bachelor of Science (Hons) graduate