Brightest and best in the world
7 October 2013
A Cardiff graduate has been recognised as one of the best and brightest students in the world by an international academic awards programme.
Vanessa Platt, who graduated from the School of English, Communication and Philosophy recently, was named as the winner of the Literature category in the 2013 Undergraduate Awards for her paper 'This is the land of dreamings, a land of wide horizons and secret places. The first people, our ancestors, created this country and the culture that binds us to it.' (Hetty Perkins, Eastern Arrernte Nation)
Her work examined the response of two Western narratives to the historical 'discovery' or creation of an unsettled Australia, and how these fictional works engage with the Aboriginal Dreamtime to de-construct the colonial myth of an untouched land, which she submitted as part of her undergraduate degree.
As a winner, Vanessa will have her paper publicised in an international academic journal and has been invited to attend the Undergraduate Awards Summit, taking place in Dublin in November, where she will also receive a medal.
Two further Cardiff students were highly commended by the award judges: Fiona Cumberland in the International Politics category and Sara Cuputo in the Historical Studies category.
This recognises Vanessa, Fiona and Sara as within the top 10% of their fields, in competition with students of top tier universities across the globe including Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, Caltech, St Andrews, and Trinity College Dublin.
Vanessa said: "I am absolutely delighted and amazed to have won this award. Considering the particular essay which won, I am also excited: the location of Aboriginal traditions in post-colonial Australia is a subject that I have been fascinated by for years, and it raises issues that still need attention today, since amazing Aboriginal traditions are sadly under pressure to survive. It was a title I composed myself, and if what I have written makes even one person think, I would be thrilled.
"I couldn't have written anything without the work of sisters Hetti and Rachel Perkins, Paul Carter, Kate Grenville, and the late Patrick White and Bruce Chatwin. Professor Radhika Mohanram was a great help and encouragement, sending me away to improve my title when I came to her with a first draft, and generally running a fantastic module at a fantastic University. It has been a joy to study at Cardiff, from beginning to end."
The Undergraduate Awards is a prestigious and international academic awards programme, which is wholly pan-discipline. It aims to celebrate and support the world's brightest and most innovative undergraduate students by recognising their best coursework and projects.
Academics from around the world are headhunted each year to assess the entries to the Undergraduate Awards programme. Students are chosen for their innovative approach to their subject area – creating world-class research to tackle some of the world's toughest challenges.