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WSU Undergraduate Education SURCA 2020

Undergraduate Presenters: Information for Our Student Participants

Check List for Participants and Mentors

If you have any questions, please contact us at

  1. Start by reviewing the Application Guidelines.
  2. Decide what work you are going to present. All mentored research, scholarship, or creative activities are welcomed, regardless of whether they were carried out at WSU or anywhere else.
  3. Write an abstract with the help of your mentor.
  4. Carefully review all 8 presentation categories with your mentor and select a category.
  5. Decide with your mentor whether you are going to need a table, electricity, or other special needs so that your work can best be shown at your presentation.
  6. Submit your application with an abstract by application deadline (which is Feb. 20, 2020) using the online submission process.  Each abstract is reviewed, and submitters will be notified by mid-March as to whether they are accepted to present at SURCA.
  7. Prepare your poster. Look for scheduled workshops to illustrate creating a poster, from concept to design and printing. Also plan to attend workshops on how to make successful presentations–they are new for 2020.
  8. Practice delivering short and long versions of your poster presentation with your mentor and other students who are both in your discipline and outside of it. Being able to describe your work and results to those not in your field is an important skill that will be expected of you during the judging process.
  9. Review the judging rubric. It details how all presentations will be rated by judges, so it can help you prepare an effective presentation. Please note the poster, project, and presenter elements, criteria, and “excellent” through “absent” ratings, plus the overall rating at the bottom.
  10. Hang your poster on the day of SURCA during the allotted time or ask a friend to hang it for you.
  11. Be at your poster for both the judging time and the time during which the event is open to the public.
  12. Enjoy the event and the award ceremony.

Additional Notes

A Note to Students in Business, Communications, Humanities, and Creative Arts

Science and engineering fields have traditionally used a poster format to present their research, but many students (and even faculty) in other fields are less familiar with this format.

A poster is really just a visual aid containing a summary of your work in very large type that facilitates an effective discussion of your activities. One helpful way to conceptualize it is to envision it as a series of PowerPoint slides integrated into a single poster. You generally start with the abstract, which summarizes your work. This is followed by an introduction which provides some background and addresses the “why” driving your work. Your methods would be whatever you did to accomplish the activity. Perhaps your method was to go to the archives of the library or a history museum to gather information. It could be as simple as using an oil paint on a canvas, or as complicated as a rigorous statistical analysis. The results of your work should be presented next, and might consist of a book, an article, a piece of art, a sculpture, an item of clothing, or any number of possibilities. Finally, the conclusions of your work would generally tell us what you learned—and thereby explain to us what we should learn from your work and how human knowledge was advanced by it.

The poster presentation itself consists of the poster plus an oral presentation that has been prepared to explain your work to individuals who are, or aren’t, in your field and who have many distinct interests. However, one of the key strengths of the poster presentation format is the increased capacity for back-and-forth discussion, with questions and answers, between the presenter and the judges and audience.

For presentations with additional needs: Some work just demands a space that goes beyond the poster. Tables and electricity are available and your need for these should be indicated in your on line application.

A Note to Students Who Do Not Yet Have a Lot of Data

The purpose of SURCA is to give students an opportunity to present their work. Awards are available for students with various experience and education levels. Take advantage of this opportunity. Perhaps the experience you will gain and feedback you will receive at SURCA will eventually lead to you giving a national presentation at a professional conference. Plus, being a presenter adds a noteworthy activity to your resume.