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Undergraduate Research Awards Showcase International Research on University of California Education Abroad Programs
DATE: 6/26/2012
The 2012 UCEAP Undergraduate Research Award competition recognizes significant undergraduate research that occurs as part of UC Education Abroad Programs and represents a range of disciplines and study sites worldwide.
Santa Barbara, CA (June 2012) -- The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has announced the winners of its 2012 UCEAP Undergraduate Research Awards competition. One first-place winner was awarded $1,000 and two honorable mentions received $500 prizes. Winners were selected from a field of 17 applicants representing a range of academic disciplines and study sites worldwide.
“The Undergraduate Research Awards celebrate the rigorous international research conducted by UC students and serve as a powerful reminder of the opportunities that students have to make meaningful, original contributions to their academic disciplines by conducting independent research while studying abroad,” said Jean-Xavier Guinard, Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director of the University of California Education Abroad Program.
UCEAP partners with top-ranked universities, institutes, and faculty in 39 countries around the globe, offering over 300 programs of varied design, duration, and location. Its mission is to equip UC students with the knowledge, understanding, and skills for work and life in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world.
First place recognition was awarded to the following:
Haidang D. Nguyen (UCLA – major in Neuroscience/Biology) studied in the Australia Immersion Program at the University of Sydney where his research used magnetic resonance imaging to explore the relationship between brain anatomy, brain function, and their relation to obstructive sleep apnea. His work will contribute to the development of more effective treatment of cardiovascular disease in sleep apnea patients.
Honorable mentions were awarded to the following:
Amanda Lotspike (UC Davis – Women and Gender Studies/International Relations) enrolled in the Chile Immersion Program at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. She worked with the foundation Educación Popular en Salud to reconsider definitions of the human body and the “right to health” as these are promoted by community health groups.

Andrea Vazquez (UCLA– Spanish and Community and Culture ) spent a semester in the Field Research Program in Mexico working with UCEAP’s mentor at the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional in Oaxaca. Her work explores the emergence of the gay-lesbian political movement in Oaxaca and the struggle of lesbian women within the movement to make their voices heard.
Applications were reviewed for quality of research concept and execution, integral and innovative use of resources at the study site, quality of presentation, distinctiveness of the research, and quality of faculty support. The UCEAP selection committee consisted of:
Armin Schwegler, Professor of Spanish Linguistics, UC Irvine
Scott Reid, Professor of Communication, UC Santa Barbara
Melody Knutson, Regional Director
Karen Mead, Regional Director
Eva Bilandzia, Academic Specialist
Monica Rocha, Academic Specialist
“The first place winner has been nominated by systemwide UCEAP to compete in the Forum on Education Abroad’s Undergraduate Research Awards,” Guinard said. “We wish Haidang Nguyen the best of luck in the national competition.”
Recently, UC San Diego student Richard Hong, a participant in the UCEAP fall 2010 Mexico Field Research Program, was one of the two national winners of the Forum on Education Abroad’s Undergraduate Research Award.
 The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) 
Through international academic experiences, the University of California Education Abroad Program inspires students to explore and transform their lives, UC and the world. UCEAP is the only study abroad provider representing the entire University of California system. Its partner universities span more than 40 countries worldwide, and its UC-approved programs are fully integrated to offer UC credit, grades and financial aid.