Undergraduate Research Award


The Forum Undergraduate Research Award is an honor that showcases the most rigorous and significant undergraduate research that occurs as part of education abroad programs. Every year, award recipients are invited (all expenses paid) to present their research at a plenary luncheon at the annual Forum conference. Over the years, the student presentations have become a much-anticipated event of the annual conference.

Independent research represents one of the highest achievements of undergraduate student learning. Completing serious, high-quality research requires critical thinking, analysis, and creativity. Award projects encompass a wide variety of academic fields, demonstrating that international learning informs many academic and professional fields. Moreover, the quality of the nominated research is a testimony to students' understanding of other cultures and societies. For the award, "research" is understood in its broadest possible sense as encompassing the full range of excellence in the academic products of an education abroad experience.


The presentation of these competitive undergraduate research projects underscores, for faculty, international education administrators and other professionals, some of the important ways that education abroad impacts student learning. In this way, the very best outcomes of student learning abroad are widely visible to the profession of education abroad as well as to our constituents.


The annual deadline for nominations for the Award is at the end of June of that year. The Forum encourages its members to plan their nominations to work with their organization's calendars.


See here for more information:




2013 Undergraduate Research Award


The Forum is proud to announce the two winners of 2013 Undergraduate Research Awards: Madison Stevens of Franklin College (Switzerland) and Narintohn Luangrath of Boston College. The students’ projects were judged by faculty from Forum member institutions, who found them to be the best examples of the highest quality academic achievements of undergraduates studying abroad.  Press Release - December 17, 2013

Student: Madison Stevens, Franklin University Switzerland

Nominating member: SIT Study Abroad
Program: Uganda: Post-Conflict Transformation, SIT Study Abroad, Gulu, Uganda          
Project: “Lara Ngom ii Acoli: Identifying Root Causes and the Impact of Cultural Cataclysm on Land Conflict Resolution in Nwoya   

District, Northern Uganda"






Student: Narintohn Luangrath, Boston College 

Nominating member: Boston College      
Program: Dublin Internship Program, Boston College
Project: “Tearmainn na héireann: Direct Provision Housing, Child Asylum Seekers, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child”





The students presented their work in San Diego on April 4, 2014 at the Forum’s Tenth Annual Conference. Watch their presentations by clicking on the videos below!








2012 Undergraduate Research Award


The Forum is proud to announce the two winners of this year’s Undergraduate Research Awards: Mary Jane Dempsey of The College of New Jersey and Ellen Broen of the University of Richmond. Mary Jane and Ellen presented their work in Chicago on April 5, 2013 at a plenary session during the Forum’s Ninth Annual Conference. The students’ projects were judged by faculty from Forum-member institutions, who found them to be the best examples of the highest quality academic achievements of undergraduates studying abroad.



Mary Jane Dempsey, a senior at The College of New Jersey, is a double-major in History and International Studies with a minor in Italian, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. While studying abroad in Bologna, Italy at the Spring Hill College Italy Center she conducted research in order to understand what laws have been constructed by the Italian government to regulate immigration and to study how they affect the lives of immigrants and their means of gaining citizenship. A particular focus of her research was to examine lives of the children of immigrants by conducting interviews with them.






Ellen Broen, a triple major in French, Music and International Studies at the University of Richmond, spent a semester in Paris at Université Vincennes-Saint-Denis (Paris VIII), through the Mission interuniversitaire de coordination des échanges franco-américains Paris-Ile de France (MICEFA), a consortium of most of the Universities of Paris. Her research focused on Giacomo Meyerbeer, a mid-19th century composer who was a mentor to famed German composer Richard Wagner, who Broen discovers through her archival research was the source of prejudice against Meyerbeer.


Press Release - February 5, 2013







2011 Undergraduate Research Award

Plenary Presentation


On Friday, March 23, 2012 Award winners Richard Hong and Claire Jenson presented their research at a plenary luncheon at the Forum's 8th Annual Conference in Denver.


Richard Hong spent a semester in Mexico, where he conducted field research in Tapachula, and commuted between the border towns of Ciudad Hidalgo in Mexico and Tecun Uman in Guatemala. His project used an ethnographic survey that he designed to interview undocumented Central American migrants. Claire Jenson’s project, conducted over the course of a year at the Center for University Programs Abroad (CUPA) in Paris, focused on the history of a medieval illuminated manuscript, searching for sources that revealed its ownership, deciphering its text, and analyzing its decorations.

Video Highlights


Excerpts from Richard Hong's presentation, introduced by Kelly McLaughlin (Yale University)




Excerpts from Claire Jenson's presentation, introduced by Cheryl Matherly (University of Tulsa)





Photo Highlights


Richard Hong


Claire Jenson


Richard and Mr. and Mrs. Hong


Claire and Mr. and Mrs. Jenson


Cheryl Matherly (left, University of Tulsa) and Kelly McLaughlin (right, Yale University) mentored the students' presentations.


The award recipients received travel awards sponsored by Advantage Travel and Syracuse University.






Where Are They Now?

At the Forum's 8th Annual Conference in Denver, CO, March 21-23, 2012, conference participants received a publication detailing the current lives of past winners of the Forum's Undergraduate Research Award: Lasting Lessons: Following up with Recipients of the Forum's Undergraduate Research Award