UJ students win global recognition for undergrad papers on #FeesMustFall and robotic sensing

Two students from the University of Johannnesburg (UJ), one from Law and another from Engineering, have received recognition for their undergraduate research papers from the international award body, the Undergraduate Awards (UA). Having won the Middle-East and Africa region of the competition, both were highly commended at the announcement of the 2016 awards on Tuesday, 6 September. They will attend the UA Global Summit from 8th until 11 November 2016, in Dublin, Ireland.

Ms Nqolokazi Nomvalo was highly commended in the Law category for her paper, The Command Theory on the #FeesMustFall Movement in South Africa.

“Each and every one of us is graced with a great power which can only be unleashed through hard work and unwavering commitment to excellence. It re-echoes a greater sentiment that each and every one of us is blessed with the talent to make it. The sky is not the limit – it cannot be when Mark Shuttleworth’s footprints are somewhere beyond,” said Ms Nomvalo.

Mr Nicholas Harvey was highly commended for his work focusing on laying some of the groundwork for a new method of sensing in robotics, for his studies in Engineering.

“Humans take for granted the ability to sense where and how their limbs are moving, but in the development of robots this is not such a trivial problem,” said Harvey. “My work combined inspiration from nature in the form of load-sensitive structures located on spider’s legs with advances in 3D printing manufacturing to demonstrate a working example of this principle,” he said. “The fact that UJ has produced two undergraduates who can compete on a global stage speaks volumes about the quality of education that the university offers. I am extremely proud to have been a student of UJ,” said Harvey.

Each year, Winners and Highly Commended Entrants are invited to Dublin to attend the UA Global Summit. Top students from around the world take part in discussions, workshops and events geared towards enhancing their personal development, encouraging responsible leadership and equipping them with the knowledge they need to further themselves, their ideas and research.

Nomvalo and Harvey’s selection as highly commendable entrants in the UA awards place them in the top 10% of 5 500 entrants from all over the world.

The international award body, The Undergraduate Awards (UA) recognises and rewards undergraduate students across 25 disciplines, ranging from business and engineering to visual arts and midwifery. They aim to celebrate and support the world’s brightest and most innovative undergraduate students by recognising the best coursework and projects.

The Undergraduate Awards are the largest academic awards program in the world, with 5,514 submissions from students at 243 universities across 40 countries this year alone.


Mr Nicholas Harvey
From left to right: Prof Morgan Dundu (Vice Dean: Teaching, Learning and Operations), Mr Nicholas Harvey who was highly commended in the category of Engineering at the global Undergraduate Awards for his paper on robotic sensing in September 2016, and Prof Esther Akinlabi (Head of Department: Department of Mechanical Engineering Science) as seen at the Faculty of Engineering Dean’s awards in 2015.
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