WSU undergraduate researchers submitting abstracts for March 27, 2017 SURCA poster competition

MEDIA: Shelley Pressley, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, WSU Office of Undergraduate Education, 509-335-0014,

Mary Sánchez Lanier, WSU Assistant Vice Provost, 509-335-7767,

PULLMAN, Wash.—Online applications open Thurs., Dec. 1, for Washington State University undergraduate researchers seeking to participate in the sixth annual Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA), announced the Office of Undergraduate Research.

SURCA 2017 will be held on Mon., March 27.

Students should visit the SURCA website for information about the symposium, its categories, and details on abstract submissions, said Shelley Pressley, director of undergraduate research office, which is part of WSU Undergraduate Education. The last day to apply to present at SURCA is Feb. 21, 2017 at 11:59 p.m.

Signature Event

SURCA is also the only university-wide public venue throughout the academic year where freshmen through seniors in all majors on every campus can share their mentored research, scholarship, and creative activities, which are collectively referred to as “research.” Monetary prizes are awarded to researchers—from novices through the experienced—who are judged to be the top presenters in each of eight categories. Presentations span science, humanities, social science, arts, and engineering topics.

Adding to Transformational Educational Experiences

“SURCA gives students tremendous opportunities to grow both personally and academically,” said Mary Sánchez Lanier, assistant vice provost. “Students must refine and organize knowledge gleaned from their months and even years of work with a research mentor. They must prepare intricate posters and practice concise speeches to tell various audiences about their work and results. At the event itself, they learn about the wealth of subjects being investigated by their peers.

“Participants from years past tell us that their understanding of the scope of their work as well as their commitment to research was deepened by their SURCA experience.”

SURCA also helps undergraduate researchers refine skills that Washington employers seek in their workplace leaders. Those include critical and creative thinking, communication, quantitative reasoning, scientific literacy, team experience, and risk-taking.

SURCA’s Steady Growth

The first SURCA was held in 2012 when independent poster events merged into one, hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Research, part of WSU Undergraduate Education. The number of students presenting, as well as prizes awarded, has steadily grown, as have the number of judges. Those volunteers include faculty members, graduate students, staff, and experts from the community.

Since it began, SURCA has made nearly 250 awards, made possible by community and campus sponsors. The number of student presenters has increased nearly 70 percent—in 2016, 249 students’ abstracts were accepted for presentations.

Part of WSU Showcase

SURCA is part of the campus tradition called WSU Showcase, the university’s annual celebration of excellence. In 2017, SURCA kicks off a week of Showcase activities.