UC Berkeley students’ essays to take them to Ireland

Winning essays have garnered four UC Berkeley students an all-expense paid trip to Dublin, Ireland, where they will be honored for their writing achievements.

Senior Ariel Hsian-Au Hsiung — one of 23 winners of the Undergraduate Awards of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which also included entries from the United States — as well as finalists Marta Belcher, a rhetoric major and a former employee of The Daily Californian, Devin Richards, a conservation and resource studies major, and Hannah Jewell, a recent Middle Eastern studies graduate and also a former Daily Cal employee, will meet the Irish President Mary McAleese, as well as leaders and students from across the globe at an awards ceremony in Ireland in October.

“This is a great opportunity,” Hsiung said. “It gives us a chance to do independent research and come up with an essay.”

This year was the first time that the scholarship was open to universities in the United States. UC Berkeley, which had 15 submissions, was the only public institution invited to participate.

The four UC Berkeley students  wrote on an array of topics, including human rights, social media and sustainability issues.

Belcher said that the award was empowering because it allowed her to be recognized by world leaders for her ideas.

Students from Columbia, Harvard and Princeton universities, as well as the California Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago, also participated in the competition.

“I am really excited and honored that Berkeley has an opportunity to participate in such an event,” Hsiung. “I am also excited about an all-expense paid trip to Ireland.”