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MIC Student Highly Commended at Global Undergraduate Awards

Laura Phelan pictured at her graduation in 2021

MIC graduate Laura Phelan has been Highly Commended at the recent Global Undergraduate Awards in recognition of the strength of her undergraduate study and research.

Laura, from Castletown in Laois, graduated this year from the B Ed in Education and Psychology at MIC. She was Highly Commended for her work on her undergraduate thesis ‘I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again: Exploring Sports Injury-Related Growth in GAA Athletes’ which investigated the relationship between mental toughness, social support and sports-injury related growth in GAA athletes. Her thesis also saw her crowned as the winner of 2020’s Psychological Society of Ireland All-Ireland Student Congress award for best presentation in the undergraduate category.

Commenting on her award, Laura said: “I’m delighted to have my research recognised at such a high level. The challenges of the past two years have brought a renewed focus to mental health challenges and the process of navigating difficulties and the findings of my undergraduate research indicates that being mentally tough can have a significant positive influence on your growth following injury. However, this is totally dependent on social supports network, so the absence of that support can lead to low levels of growth. Previous research on recovery had mainly focused on male, professional athletes, so to be able to draw focus to females and amateur athletes as well was really interesting to me. Thank you to my supervisor Dr Niamh Higgins for her support and sharing her expertise with me during my undergraduate research.”

Congratulating Laura on being Highly Commended was B Ed in Education & Psychology programme leader, Dr Claire Griffin: “I was delighted to see Laura’s research being highly commended at the Global Undergraduate Awards Programme. As a leading global academic competition, judged by academics from the world's top universities, this is a fantastic achievement. Laura's dedication to her undergraduate research and the thoroughness of her work deserves this international recognition. In particular, Laura’s research bridged the gap between research, theory and practice and has excellent applied significance. Congratulations to Laura on her achievements at undergraduate level. I wish to extend my best to her as she pursues postgraduate study here at MIC. I also wish to acknowledge and congratulate her supervisor Dr Niamh Higgins, who shared her expertise while overseeing Laura’s study.

Dr Griffin added: “Notably, this adds to a long list of students from the Bachelor of Education in Education and Psychology programme who have been worthy awardees at the Global Undergraduate Awards Programme since the programme’s inception in 2012. Such awards highlight the excellence of research and academic writing undertaken by our students on this high-quality programme at MIC”.

Laura, who graduated from the B Ed in Education & Psychology programme in October, has continued her study at MIC by undertaking the Level 9 Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies programme at MIC. She is also teaching at Scoil Bhríde in Portlaoise.