WSU SURCA 2024 Sets, Ties Participation Records

Pullman, Wash.—The Washington State University Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) is going to pack the CUB Senior Ballroom with eager students sharing their research findings from 3:30-4:45 p.m. Mon., March 25. The event is open at no charge to guests.

“We are very happy to feature 206 posters from 256 students from all six WSU campuses, and to welcome 208 judges to hear descriptions of their work and results,” said Jeremy Lessmann, director of the WSU Office of Undergraduate Research. It is part of the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement in the provost’s office.

Lessmann said that this year’s judges total is the largest ever in SURCA history, and the number of presenters ties those of 2018 for the most. The number of posters is the second highest in SURCA history.

“It seems to point to a rising level of interest and participation by undergraduates from all majors and years in college who conduct research, scholarship, and creative activities with a mentor. And the number of volunteer judges from both within WSU and beyond indicates strong support for our students.”

The interest in SURCA is consistent with WSU’s strong history of students participating in undergraduate research. Recent results from the 2023 National Survey for Student Engagement (NSSE) indicate that 21 percent of WSU seniors systemwide reported they had engaged in the high-impact, hands-on activity of undergraduate research with a mentor.

At SURCA, posters are divided into nine categories. All disciplines are covered by STEM, humanities, and social science projects.

This year’s topics are creative and diverse, said Lessmann. They run the gamut from “estrogen on lateral-line hair cells in zebrafish” to an Ansel Adams-inspired photography project; from TikTok use and cognitive functioning to changes in mountain caribou habitat in the south Selkirk mountains; and from metabolism of BPA by sulfonation in cats versus other animals to designing a pediatric clinic in Baltimore using an evidence-based approach to reduce client stress and clinician burnout. An online searchable presentation list features these and all other abstracts plus information about each presenter’s campus, major, and mentor.

First of the week’s celebration of scholarly achievements known as WSU Showcase, SURCA is the unique, single, and annual venue for undergraduates systemwide to disseminate the results of their mentored research. Awards can be presented in each category to the top novice, early-career, and experienced researchers for their ideas, methods, and output; delivery of presentation; and fielding of questions. SURCA awards will be presented starting at 5:00 p.m. Monday in the CUB Auditorium. Guests can attend in person or via YouTube.

Media contact:

Jeremy Lessmann, Director of Office of Undergraduate Research,