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Gold Medal


Megan Turner
 from St Mary’s University College Receives ‘Undergraduate Awards’ Gold Medal for Education Capstone Project


Megan Turner from St Mary’s University College Receives ‘Undergraduate Awards’ Gold Medal for Education Capstone Project

Megan Turner (right) receiving the Undergraduate Awards George Berkeley Gold Medal from Patricia O’Brien, barrister and former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel.


On Friday, 21 November, Megan Turner was awarded the George Berkeley Gold Medal for her Capstone Project, which she wrote as a BEd student last year in St Mary’s University College. Her project combines her studies in education with her main subject work in English Literature. It is entitled Mind and Memory, Understanding and Delight”: Views of Literature and Memory in Education. The project analyses the role of memory in the Northern Ireland Curriculum and makes comparisons with curricula in other countries around the world. It also compares pedagogical approaches to the memorisation of poetry in the classroom with views on the memorisation of prayers as part of religious instruction in different religious traditions.

Each year, the winners of the Undergraduate Awards (UA) are invited to Dublin to attend the UA Global Summit, a three-day conference often referred to as the ‘Davos for students.’

“Winning the award was an honour”, Megan said, “but being invited to spend three days at the summit in Dublin with the other winners was a fascinating experience. We presented our work to one another, exchanged ideas and networked. One minute we were discussing the impact of solar flares on the earth’s atmosphere and the next we were focused on urgent issues in international relations. The keynote speaker, Anne Anderson, Ireland’s Ambassador to the United Nations, closed the conference by reminding us that the challenges we face in the world are daunting, but that gatherings like this remind us of the human creative potential. It was an inspiring event.”

The Undergraduate Awards also welcomed a fascinating array of thought leaders to speak during the UA Global Summit including Oscar-winning film producer, Lord David Puttnam; Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Mairead Maguire; former Legal Counsel and Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs at the United Nations, Patricia O’Brien; Mars One candidate Prof. Joeseph Roche and critically acclaimed choreographer and MacArthur Genius, Kyle Abraham, among others.

Megan presented her work to all the other winners and attendees from the stage of the Google Foundry, Google’s Irish headquarters in Barrow Street, Dublin. The award ceremony was then held in Christchurch Cathedral, complete with choral accompaniment and a closing address from Ambassador Anderson.


Megan Turner addressing UA Summit delegates from the stage of the Google Foundry.

Megan Turner addressing UA Summit delegates from the stage of the Google Foundry.


The Undergraduate Awards were founded in partnership with Google, Digicel, the Higher Education Authority and the Department for Employment and Learning. The 120 winners are the top-performing entrants out of 4,792 submissions which UA received this year from 209 universities across twenty-seven countries including America, Austria, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Nigeria, Netherlands, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The winners came from a range of international universities including Harvard, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Chicago, Oxford, Trinity College Dublin, McGill University, Yale and Maynooth University, among many others.