An all-expenses paid trip to Ireland is the perfect end to the year for fourth year Arts/Law student Daniel McKay.
Daniel will head to Dublin later this month after his essay won best overall and international winner in the historical studies category of the Undergraduate Awards.
His essay beat over 300 history entries internationally, and was one of 4792 essays submitted across all categories in this year’s awards. Daniel was also the only ANU student to be awarded a prize in 2014.
The Undergraduate Awards support research and creative thinking across academic areas at an undergraduate level worldwide, and award prizes in 25 academic areas.
Daniel wrote his winning essay, ‘Dust and Bluster: An Historical Evaluation of the Political Discourse on Drought in Australia’, for a course in Australian Political History run by Associate Professor Frank Bongiorno.
“My essay was about political responses to drought through Australian history and how that changed according to what people thought of the environment,” says Daniel.
“I didn’t expect to win, but I think my essay did well because issues relating to perceptions of the environment are relevant at the moment.”
“I used Trove records from the National Library of Australia for my research, including a tool to map specific words and how many times they were used in the archives, so I used the sources in a unique way.”
Daniel’s prize will cover costs to fly to Dublin in November to attend the award ceremony and a three-day Global Summit with other winners and highly commended entrants. The essay will also be published in the Undergraduate Awards Journal.
Along with the chance to mingle with other like-minded young researchers, highlights of the Summit include meeting Ireland’s Prime Minister and a trip to Google’s Ireland headquarters.
During his trip, Daniel also plans to travel to London to visit friends and sneak in a visit to the British Library.
“I’m planning to spend a day at the British Library to do some research for Honours, which I’ll be doing next year. The records aren’t digitised so it’s a great opportunity to get access to sources which will help the research for my thesis.”
When he’s not busy working on assignments, Daniel also helps to run the ANU History Learning Community and is a student ambassador for the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences.