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WSU Undergraduate Education SURCA 2019

SURCA Presenters

Frequently Asked Questions

We Need a Little More Time
Due to the large number of great abstracts we received from students, we need more time for review. Students will be notified by mid-March whether they are selected to present at SURCA.

May I present two posters at SURCA? I would like to have one on my own scholarly research. And the other would be on work I’ve done with a team doing a group project.

You can only present one poster to SURCA judges, but you can be listed as a joint-presenter on other work shown on a second poster, if you have joint-presenters who are willing to make the presentation to judges.

There is a difference between joint-presenters and co-authors, as explained on the SURCA website. Each and every joint-presenter must separately submit their own information to SURCA.

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.
What if I can’t be there to hang my poster between noon and 2 p.m. on the day of SURCA? I have classes that cut across those times and cannot miss them. But I submitted my abstract and was accepted to present this year, and I can be there in time for the start of judging at 2:45. Can I still participate?

Yes, but you have a few options to be sure your poster is in place by 2 p.m. when judges will begin to look over the posters assigned to them. You may have a friend come by the CUB Sr. Ballroom between noon and 2 p.m. to hang the poster for you. Another options is to send an email to and make arrangements to drop off your poster the day before SURCA with event officials in CUE 519. Either way, you will be set up and prepared to present by 2:45. Keep the SURCA calendar in mind as you plan for that day.

What will the written feedback forms tell me about my presentation? I know I will receive them when I pick up my poster following the awards part of SURCA at 5:45 in CUB Aud. What do I have to do with the forms?

Student presenters tell the SURCA committee that they appreciate written comments from their judges. Constructive feedback from these experts helps them to see how to make better, or more clear, presentations on their work. And, feedback can provide valuable and new insights about their actual research. The forms are provided for the students to keep.

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. Students with the highest points and overall ratings are more likely to win a SURCA award within their category. Hundreds of students have won awards at each SURCA event since the first in 2012.

Judges typically visit three posters and listen to oral presentations from those students. They evaluate each presenter according to a common rubric that is designed to be applicable to all eight categories of SURCA presentations.

Examine the rubric and you’ll see that it is divided into poster, project, and presenter elements with criteria that can be rated “excellent” (worth 4 points) down to “absent” (for 0 points). Of the 16 criteria, two rate the poster, one the project, but 13 the presenter. Total points can range from 0 to 64, with most relating to your presentation! Plus, there is also a “judge’s overall rating” section that calls on the judge’s discretion as to the overall quality of your project and presentation.

I am curious about how detailed I can be in the abstract submitted to participate in SURCA. 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.

This question would be better suited for your research mentor. Hopefully you have been in communication with her/him about your abstract, as s/he should review it before you submit it.

Here are a couple of other resources for you:

  • Elsewhere on our SURCA website is some general language about writing an abstract.
  • Also on the SURCA website are pdf versions of the abstract books from previous years. For example, here is the link to the abstract book for 2017. You may want to review a few other abstracts from previous years 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 and ask for some help from one of them.
For the section to choose my major on the abstract submission form, there is no option for my major (linguistics). What should I enter?

It’s always good to ask: thank you. In this case, select “Humanities.”