BA alum Melanie Hechenberger wins international award for her paper about the origin of Egyptian writing

BA alum Melanie Hechenberger wins international award for her paper about the origin of Egyptian writing

Monash University Bachelor of Arts (Hons) alum and current MA student, Melanie Hechenberger was recently announced as a Global Winner of the prestigious Undergraduate Awards (UA), the world’s largest academic awards program.

Melanie was named the Global Winner for her paper entitled, The Origin of Writing in Egypt: Administrative or Ceremonial? in the ‘Classical Studies & Archaeology’ category. Melanie’s paper considers the debate surrounding the earliest known evidence of writing in Egypt.

This year, 6432 papers from students in 299 institutions across 47 countries were submitted to UA. The top 10% of papers in each of 25 categories are Highly Commended, but there is only one UA Global Winner for each category.

Melanie was surprised and delighted to receive the call from UA informing her of her win. ‘To have a panel of experts in my field read my work and like it, without having any idea of who I am and where I come from, is an amazing feeling,’ she said.

Melanie undertook an honours program in Ancient Cultures during which she studied Ancient Egypt under the supervision of Associate Professor Colin Hope, who believes Melanie’s award is well deserved. 

‘Melanie is an excellent student with an inquiring approach to her studies which has been suitably acknowledged internationally with the award,’ said Associate Professor Hope.

Melanie was also Highly Commended for a section from her honours thesis on an ancient inscription.

As part of her prize, Melanie will enjoy an all-expense paid trip to Dublin to attend the UA Global summit where she’ll meet the other Global Winners along with 125 students who were Regional Winners or Highly Commended this year.

Melanie appreciates that the UA invites the top 10% of students to the summit, rather than just the Global Winners, because it acknowledges the high achievement of not just one, but many undergraduates. Bringing them all together at the summit  provides the opportunity to be inspired and grow in confidence, skill and experience with others from around the world.

Melanie is currently continuing her studies with a Master of Arts researching ancient Egyptian biographies. For others interested in emulating Melanie’s success, Associate Professor Colin Hope elaborated on opportunities for students,

‘Monash is very active in research related to the various cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East, ranging from Ancient Egypt and Iraq to the Classical world, and has several fieldwork projects in those areas. It enables students to undertake original research into archaeology, history and literature with guidance from leading authorities, often on material that has not been previously studied,' he said.

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