Alexander Blum is the first Brown student to win regional honors from the Undergraduate Awards.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] —  With the top research paper among North American undergraduates in his discipline, Brown University Class of 2016 graduate Alexander Blum earned honors as the 2016 United States/Canada regional winner of the prestigious Undergraduate Awards in the category of earth and environmental sciences.

Blum’s award-winning paper, "Rational Misconception: Agricultural Biotechnology," argued that well-informed conversations that respect all stakeholders are crucial to understanding how agricultural technologies can best be used and regulated in an effective, responsible and sustainable manner.

The biochemistry concentrator, who now works at a center for patients with Hansen's disease in Titagarh, India, said he was surprised and grateful for the honor.

"Though I am very appreciative that my paper was recognized," Blum said, "I believe that the commendation more broadly reflects the outstanding work regularly done by many students and faculty on Brown’s campus."

The Undergraduate Awards program recognizes undergraduate research and original work by students across the globe. Awards are based on submitted academic papers that are reviewed by an expert panel comprised of academic and industry representatives from around the globe. The program’s 25 categories span a range of disciplines, including the sciences, humanities and the arts. This year, from 5,414 papers, judges awarded one global winner and seven regional winners in each category.

In addition to Blum's award, six current and recently graduated Brown students received "highly commended" honors: Gabrielle Hick (art history, music, film and theatre), Roy Chen (history), Denise Croote (life sciences), Katherine Kardomateas (politics and international relations), Brittany Comunale (psychology) and Madeline Rotman (anthropology and cultural studies).

"This is a distinctive academic awards program because students compete with other undergraduates from top universities around the world, including many of our Ivy League peers," said Oludurotimi Adetunji, Brown’s dean of undergraduate research. "This was the first year that Brown University students competed, and I am very excited that they have done so well. It is a clear recognition of their scholarship beyond the walls of Brown or even the United States."

Students who receive global, regional and commended awards are invited to attend the annual Undergraduate Awards Summit, a four-day networking and brainstorming event in Dublin in November.