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Nine U of T students invited to Dublin for Undergraduate Awards

Florence Chan recognized in two categories

Michael Scarpitti, David Ding and Florence Chan are among the nine U of T students to make the Dublin Awards' Highly Commended list

Nine U of T graduates were named to the Highly Commended list at this year’s Undergraduate Awards – a global competition that brings top students from around the world to take part at its Global Summit in Dublin, from November 19-21. 

To be named ‘Highly Commended,’ a student's research paper submission must be ranked in the top 10 per cent. This year’s finalists were named ‘Highly Commended’ in the following categories:

  • Tyler Carson, Cultural Studies
  • Shelby Challis, Social Science
  • Florence Chan, Cultural Studies and Psychology (recognized in two categories)
  • David Ding, Engineering & Mechanical Studies
  • Arash Ghiassi, Philosophy & Theology
  • Morad Moazami, Media & Arts
  • Michael Scarpitti, Education
  • Behrad Vatankhahghadim, Engineering & Mechanical Studies
  • Frank Weng, International Relations &Politics

In the past two years, four U of T grads have received medals of academic excellence at the Undergraduate Awards, including last year’s winners, Chelsea Bin Han and Thineshan Kathirchelvan. Winners and highly commended entrants are invited to Dublin to attend the summit. There, students participate in workshops and events geared towards enhancing their personal development, furthering their ideas and research, and strengthening their leadership skills. 

I knew I was in some tough competition because the entrants to the Undergraduate Awards competition are some of the brightest young minds coming from all corners of the world,” said Ding, who is now a master’s student in electrical and computer engineering at U of T. 

Ding was among more than 200 entrants in the Engineering category. “For my paper to place among the top 10 per cent, it made me feel that my effort really paid off.”

Scarpitti faced even fiercer competition in his category, which received almost 5,000 submissions. He found out he was a finalist on his first day of graduate school at Queen’s University. Scarpitti, who hopes to go on to medical school, said he thanks U of T for helping him build the skills that he exhibited in his research paper. 

My ability to write and communicate effectively significantly improved over my course of study at the University of Toronto, which was largely due to the intense constructive feedback I received [as an undergrad],” he said.

Chan was recognized in two categories – an exceptional feat that had her questioning if she was still dreaming when she woke up to the news. 

“As I started waking up and realised it was for real, I got more and more excited. I checked the website to make sure it wasn't a mistake because I was so shocked that I had been shortlisted. So you can imagine that when I took a look at the list and saw my name twice, I was even more shocked!” 

Chan’s first paper looked at the personal narratives of trans individuals, particularly the voices of trans people of colour, while the second paper focused on gender identity disorder (GID).

(See the full list of this year’s winners and finalists.) 

Liz Do writes about education issues for U of T News.