WSU undergraduate research showcase March 30 sets new participation record

MEDIA CONTACT: Shelley Pressley, Director, WSU Office of Undergraduate Education, 509-335-1252 or 5443,

Mary Sanchez Lanier, WSU Assistant Vice Provost, 509-335-2320,

PULLMAN, Wash. — Presenting 167 posters at the 2015 Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) Monday, March 30, will be 186 freshmen through seniors from every campus of Washington State University. The public is invited to visit students at their posters starting at 3:30 in the CUB M.G. Carey Senior Ballroom, and to the awards ceremony at 4:45 p.m. in the CUB Junior Ballroom.

“This is the largest number of participants in SURCA’s four-year history,” said Shelley Pressley, director of the hosting Office of Undergraduate Research, part of the WSU Office of Undergraduate Education. “This tells us that SURCA is gaining recognition as a quality event. It may also speak to the fact that WSU is engaging more students across all disciplines in the high-impact experience of mentored research, scholarship, and creative activity that we term ‘research.’”

Evidence of the breadth of investigations is reflected in this year’s poster topics. They range, for example, from stormwater treatment to a noninvasive blood glucose monitor, from the cardiomyopathy mutation (F72L) to rural summer robotics camps, and from sequencing the RNA of the tropical gar to the pain-relieving effective of a synthetic cannabinoid drug. An abstract book describing all presentations is on the SURCA website.

Primary poster competition

SURCA is the primary venue where undergraduates doing research in all disciplines can disseminate their research results and compete for financial awards. Posters are grouped into eight categories: applied sciences; arts and design; computer science, mathematics, statistics, and information sciences; engineering and physical sciences; humanities; molecular, cellular, and chemical biology; organismal, population, ecological, and evolutionary biology.

Up to four types of awards can be made in each category, depending on judges’ scores: crimson is the highest award and gray the next; the early career award is for first-year students and sophomores; and the novice researcher award is for students with two semesters or less research experience.

SURCA sponsors

Sponsors for SURCA 2015 awards are, in alphabetical order: Alturas Analytics, Inc.; The Boeing Company; Decagon Devices, Inc.; Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) program; and the WSU Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President.

Concluding WSU Showcase event

The SURCA website explains the event in detail, and includes an abstract book with presenter names, research title, and mentor. This year, SURCA is the culminating event in a week-long celebration of academic expertise at the university, called WSU Showcase.