Western scholars among the top in the world in international undergraduate competition

Six Western undergraduate student researchers were recently named among the best in the world in The Global Undergraduate Awards, including three global winners from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities – the faculty’s highest ever number of global winners in one year.

Probing a diverse range of research topics, including ancient literature and medieval studies, brain functionality testing, soil contaminants, ethics in pandemic health care and artificial intelligence, the Western scholars being recognized for their outstanding coursework are:

  • James Kenneth, Global Winner in Classical Studies & Archaeology
  • Liam Waterman, Global Winner in Literature
  • Nathalie DiBerardino, Global Winner in Philosophy
  • Lance Javier, Regional Winner in Earth & Environmental Sciences
  • Rafeh Shahid, Regional Winner in Medical Sciences
  • Kayla Gauthier, Regional Winner in Nursing, Midwifery & Allied Health Care

“The Faculty of Arts and Humanities is thrilled to have had so many of our students recognized by the Global Undergraduate Awards. We know our students are among the best in the world, and the recent results – including no less than three global winners from our faculty – is proof of the quality of work they are doing and of the first-rate education they are receiving,” said Jan Plug, acting dean, Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

The Global Undergraduate Awards is a global cross-disciplinary competition that invites undergraduates to submit their high-quality undergraduate work to be judged anonymously by academic panels in each category. Global Winners are the top submissions worldwide in their respective categories and Regional Winners are the top submissions in their categories in their designated region.

This year, nearly 2,800 submissions from 352 institutions in 111 countries were received, according to the organizers. In addition to the global and regional winners, 23 other student scholars from Western were named to the Highly Commended List, making Western the leading university in North America, and placing it among the top two institutions overall for this year’s competition.

“Western has participated in the Global Undergraduate Awards since 2014 because we believe in the value it brings to our undergraduate scholars. We know our students are able to offer meaningful contributions in a wide range of fields and disciplines and we are proud to see so many of them achieving global recognition,” said Lily Cho, vice-provost and associate vice-president (International).

To be considered for a Global Undergraduate Award, entrants submit their work to one of 25 categories. Global winners, regional winners and highly commended scholars each receive a certificate along with publication of their paper in The Undergraduate Library and access to the Undergraduate Award Network.

They are also invited to share their research and connect with other scholars at the Global Undergraduate Summit taking place November 5-8 in Dublin, Ireland.

Global Winner Nathalie DiBerardino will present her research at the summit. She says she’s looking forward to meeting fellow students from around the world and believes the Global Undergraduate Awards offer an important opportunity for student scholars to celebrate their research efforts.

“Undergraduate work is hard! It involves a lot of time, effort, and energy. Having your work recognized is motivating, encouraging, and inspiring.”

Global Winners:

James James Kenneth, Arts & Humanities
Category: Classical Studies & Archaeology
Science vs. The Venerable Bede

Learn more about James Kenneth and his research 

Stephanos Horvers Liam Waterman, BA'23
Category: Literature
"Fools of Nature”: Fear and Ecology in Hamlet

Learn more about Liam and his research

Stephanos Horvers Nathalie DiBerardino, BA'23
Category: Philosophy
Ascriptive Algorithms: Exploring the Classificatory Influence of Predictive AI Technologies

Learn more about Nathalie and her research

Regional Winners:

Kayla Gauthier, BHSc’23
Category: Nursing, Midwifery & Allied Healthcare
Unskilled Workers: Saving Grace or Detriment to Canada’s Nursing Crisis in the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic? An Ethical Analysis

Learn more about Kayla and her research


Lance Lance Javier, BSc’23
Category: Earth & Environmental Sciences
Growing Concerns: The Interactive Effects of Soil Copper and Microplastics on Soybeans

Learn more about Lance and his research


Rafeh Rafeh Shahid, Medical Sciences
Category: Engineering
Investigating the effects of systemic physiology on Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy based resting-state functional connectivity networks

Learn more about Rafeh and his research