Jessica Kennedy, from Dooradoyle, Co Limerick, and Siobhán O’Connor from Kanturk, Co Cork, were named winners in the Undergraduate Awards 2013.
Ms Kennedy, an occupational therapy graduate, won the Irish leg of the Social Innovation category for her paper on teenage internet use and social participation.
Fourth-year nursing student Ms O’Connor won both the Irish and overall nursing awards for her research on chronic, venous, leg ulcers, beating competition from University Pennsylvania, King’s College London and Queen’s University Belfast amongst others.
The research, which Siobhán says was quite mundane and “not the flashiest topic in nursing,” focused on the use of zinc-based wound treatments and tried to improve the evidence available to healthcare professionals in making treatment decisions.
Siobhán managed to keep her parents out of the loop for a few more days. “I didn’t tell my parents straight away, but I told them at the weekend when I went out to visit them and they were delighted,” she says.
“I was delighted just to be nominated — it was great because there were loads of entries in that category and I’d submitted it back in May and completely forgotten about it, so when I got the call I was totally surprised!”
Her paper is one of 22 entries, from almost 4,000 submissions across 25 countries, which will be published in the Undergraduate Awards 2013 Academic Journal.
While Ms Kennedy is living in Australia, Siobhán has just finished her clinical placement in the South Infirmary Hospital, Cork, and will graduate before Christmas — by which time she will have begun a PhD back in UCC.
Both winners will attend the Undergraduate Awards Global Summit in Dublin this November in recognition of their achievements.