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AUS student and alumna regional winners at the Undergraduate Awards
American University of Sharjah (AUS) students Farah Abou Hamza and Sonali Chopra were recently declared winners in the Africa and the Middle East region of the Undergraduate Awards (UA), the world's largest international academic awards program, recognizing innovation and excellence at undergraduate level.
Architecture student Farah Abou Hamza won the Visual Arts & Design category for her paper " انحناء | Inhinaa." Sonali Chopra, who graduated in Spring 2015 with a double major in international studies and economics, won the History category for her paper "Monuments in the Construction of an Indian National Identity."
Cited as the ultimate champion for high-potential undergraduates, the Undergraduate Awards identifies leading creative thinkers through their undergraduate coursework and provides top performing students with the support, network and opportunities they require to raise their profiles and further their career paths. A record number of submissions were received for the 2016 program, totaling 5,514 papers from undergraduates in 244 institutions and 121 nationalities. The Regional Winners are the highest-performing Highly Commended papers from their region within a category. The seven regions of the UA 2016 program are the Island of Ireland, Europe, USA and Canada, Latin America, Oceania, Asia, and Africa and the Middle East.
"Farah's ash wood stool 'Inhinaa,' meaning bending in Arabic, is an exquisite project that she designed and fabricated in the Introduction to Techniques in Material Fabrication course," said her advisor Daniel Chavez, Assistant Professor of Architecture, College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD). "The stool incorporates steam bent and laminated wood which was then assembled using complex wood to wood joinery with no other mechanical fasteners. The use of the curving forms produced an elegant yet strong design. Her submission to the Undergraduate Awards was excellent and well deserving of her top regional award."
According to Dr. Pernille Arenfeldt, Associate Professor of History, College of Arts and Sciences, and advisor to Sonali Chopra "The results in the Undergraduate Awards are truly remarkable and a testament to the quality and dedication of the students at AUS. Sonali's sophisticated analysis of contested memory sites in India is the result of very hard and consistent work. The recognition of Sonali's outstanding senior thesis on contested memory sites in India is all the more impressive because she competed against undergraduate students majoring in history, that is, in a discipline that is only one among several in her two majors: international studies and economics. This is truly remarkable and deserved acclaim for intellectual rigor as well as dedication."
Speaking about this year's winners and Highly Commended Entrants, CEO of the Undergraduate Awards Louise Hodgson said, "This is a huge achievement for American University of Sharjah and its students. UA received the highest number of submissions to date with only the best papers making it through the judging process. The competition was extremely tough and the judges were astounded at the high quality of undergraduate research in the program this year. Congratulations to this year's successful entrants."
The Highly Commended Entrants will meet their fellow awardees at the annual UA Global Summit, taking place in Dublin, Ireland, November 8-11. The attendees will be addressed by the likes of NASA Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, Shiza Shahid of the Malala Fund, and MacArthur Fellow Kyle Abrahams, among many more speakers and facilitators.