Undergraduate Presenters: Frequently Asked Questions
- May I have 2 presentations at SURCA? For example, I would like to have 1 on my own scholarly research, and the other would be on work I’ve done with a team doing a group project.
You can be a first author and presenter on only 1 abstract. You can be listed as a co-author on other presentation(s). There is no limit on the number of presentations you may be co-author on if you have contributed to that work
There is a difference between joint-presenters and co-authors, as explained on this SURCA website. Each and every joint-presenter must separately submit their own information to SURCA and must be present for the presentation. A co-author is an individual who has contributed to the work but will not be presenting that work.
To represent your work on two projects:
- Submit one abstract about your solo work and list yourself as the primary presenter.
- Then submit the abstract that the team created about the group project and list yourself as a joint-presenter. Even though each of you will be submitting the same abstract, SURCA needs student information about each of the presenters. That way, SURCA officials can acknowledge all award winners if a joint-presented effort wins an award.
- I just graduated from WSU this past December; can I still present at SURCA the research, scholarship, or creative activity that I was working on before I graduated?
Yes, you are welcome to present your work, and we encourage you to do so. You will be judged along with other students and receive feedback on your work from your judges. If you are selected as an award recipient, you will be formally recognized at our award ceremony. Please note, however, that since you are not still an undergraduate student, you will not be eligible to receive a monetary award. The reason for this is our monetary awards are disbursed to student accounts as scholarships for undergraduates. Unfortunately, we cannot administer such a scholarship to someone who has already graduated.
- I am a Running Start student at WSU and am engaged in a research project; can I present my research at SURCA?
Yes, you are welcome to present your work and we encourage you to do so. You will be judged along with other students and receive feedback on your work from your judges. If you are selected as an award recipient, you will be formally recognized at our award ceremony. Please note, however, that unless you are enrolled for classes as a WSU student, you will not be eligible to receive a monetary award. The reason for this is our monetary awards are disbursed to student accounts as scholarships for undergraduates.
- What will the written feedback forms tell me about my presentation?
Judges are encouraged, but not required, to provide you with written feedback on your presentation. You will receive this feedback electronically. You might expect to receive insights from your judges that will help you make a better, or more clear, presentation on your work in the future. They might also share ideas about what you can do further in your research, scholarship, or creative activity. Some judges may also note what you did particularly well.
- Ahead of SURCA, why should I look over the rubric that judges will use to evaluate my presentation?
The SURCA rubric tells you everything you need to know about what judges are looking for and how points will be assigned. It is designed to be applicable to all 9 categories of SURCA presentations. Students with the highest points and overall ratings are more likely to win a SURCA award in their category. Hundreds of students have won awards at SURCA events since the first in 2012.
- I am curious about how detailed I can be in the abstract submitted to participate in SURCA. For example, I have included concentration data for a solution (i.e. 5mg/mL), but am not sure if this is too technical for the purposes of this abstract.
The level of technical detail that should be present in your abstract depends on your field. Your abstract should, however, be general enough that anyone can appreciate the significance of your research and get a sense for the work you accomplished through your project. Nevertheless, it should also be technical enough that an expert can evaluate the merit of your work.
This need for a balance between generality and technicality in abstract writing is why this question is best suited for your research mentor. Hopefully you have been in communication with her/him about your abstract, as she or he should review it before you submit it. To help you work more effectively with your mentor in writing your abstract, here are some abstract writing resources you can consult:
- Elsewhere on this SURCA website is some general language about writing an abstract.
- Also on this SURCA website are pdf versions of the abstract books from previous years. Take time to review them to get an idea of what makes a good abstract and the level of detail needed.
- Another great resource would be some of the journal articles you have read related to your own research. What level of detail do they have in their abstracts? Keep in mind that your research may not be “as far along” as a published journal article, so don’t let that discourage you.
- The Office of Undergraduate Research offers information on “how to write an abstract” during the summer research program, and the PowerPoint slides are available on our website. Scroll to the summer research abstract session to view them.
- If you can’t find the time to meet with your mentor, feel free to schedule an appointment with a research peer mentor in the Office of Undergraduate Research and ask for some help.
- For the section to “choose my major” on the abstract submission form, there is no option for my major. What should I enter?
Choose the major that is closest to what you are studying. For example, the first student that asked our office this question was studying linguistics. In this case, that student was advised to select “Humanities.”
- Should my abstract be in a SURCA category that is representative of my major
Your research might not be in the same area as your major and, as such, your SURCA category may be very different from your undergraduate major. For example, a microbiology major may choose to do and present on research on the politicization of health care. In this case, the student’s major will be microbiology, but their SURCA category may be “Humanities.”