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Students Recognized at UA Global Summit in Dublin

Rachel Hunt, Alexandra Brito, and Sierra Roark at The Undergraduate Awards in Dublin, Ireland Thursday, November 9, 2017. Photo by The Undergraduate Awards

Rachel Hunt, Alexandra Brito, and Sierra Roark at The Undergraduate Awards in Dublin, Ireland Thursday, November 9, 2017. Photo by The Undergraduate Awards

Three UT students recently returned from Dublin, Ireland, where they attended the Undergraduate Awards Global Summit and received international honors for their academic research.

Alexandra Brito, a May 2017 graduate, was presented with the Thomas Clarkson Gold Medal for her paper “Effects of Language Immersion versus Classroom Exposure on Advanced French Learners: An ERP Study” in the Language and Linguistics category. Brito’s award was presented by Chris Lubbe, inspirational speaker and former bodyguard for Nelson Mandela, during a ceremony held at Dublin City Hall November 9.

Sierra Roark, also a May graduate, received recognition as a regional winner in Classical Studies and Archaeology for her paper “Wood Charcoal Analysis from Coan Hall (44NB11),” and senior Rachel Hunt was recognized as a highly commended winner in Architecture and Design for her project “Herbaria.”

Alexandra Brito, Sierra Roark, and Rachel Hunt present their projects to peers at the UPresent event in Dublin, Ireland Wednesday, November 8, 2017. Photo by The Undergraduate Awards

Alexandra Brito, Sierra Roark, and Rachel Hunt present their projects to peers at the UPresent event in Dublin, Ireland Wednesday, November 8, 2017. Photo by The Undergraduate Awards

“We are proud of the academic efforts of our three students,” said Marisa Moazen, executive director for undergraduate research and community engagement in UT’s Office of Research and Engagement. “The Undergraduate Awards Global Summit has been an incredible opportunity to showcase their work on an international stage and network with peers at universities worldwide.

This year’s UA Global Summit, which drew 130 of the world’s top-performing students from 52 universities and 16 countries, began with a dinner at the historic Smock Alley Theatre, built in 1662. On the second day, more than 70 students delivered three-minute presentations summarizing their research—on subjects ranging from literature to physics—to an audience of their peers, UA organizers, board members, and representatives. Along with sightseeing tours and mixers, the students heard from several different speakers on issues related to higher education, research, business, philanthropy, and other topics.

Alexandra Brito poses with the Thomas Clarkson Gold Medal presented to her at The Undergraduate Awards in Dublin, Ireland Thursday, November 9, 2017. Photo by The Undergraduate Awards

Alexandra Brito poses with the Thomas Clarkson Gold Medal presented to her at The Undergraduate Awards in Dublin, Ireland Thursday, November 9, 2017. Photo by The Undergraduate Awards

Each year, the coveted UA Gold Medal named in honor of a different global scholar.

This year, the medal—the one Brito received—was named for abolitionist Thomas Clarkson. “As a young man, Clarkson had won his first prize for an essay on slavery and then dedicated his whole life to its abolition in the British Empire, something he saw achieved by an Act of Parliament in 1833,” UA Chairman Jim Barry explained. “The Undergraduate Awards has exactly that ambition—that young men and women across the globe would address their academic talents to matters of significance in all fields of learning in the hope that it would spark their passion to be change makers and leaders into the future.”

The Office of Undergraduate Research is now soliciting entries from students who would like to represent UT in the 2018 competition; the deadline is in May. Students who wish to compete in the Undergraduate Awards can submit up to three academic papers, research projects, or portfolios completed during the current academic year for which they have received an A or equivalent.

More information about the Undergraduate Awards can be found at ugresearch.utk.edu. Contact Moazen (865-974-8560, mmoazen@utk.edu) with additional questions.

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