Application Guidelines

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Application Guidelines

Application Deadline

Applications to present at SURCA 2024 are due by 11:59 p.m. on the deadline date of Feb. 20, 2024.

Prepare to successfully meet this deadline by carefully reviewing the SURCA website before opening the online application (abstract submission). Please remember that the application will require you to submit an abstract that must summarize your work according to the conventions of your discipline.

Filling Out the Application

The online SURCA application is designed so that explanations and tips are provided as you fill in each field. Information below will assist you with some of the more complicated or nuanced sections in the application.

  • Undergraduate  joint presenters: In some instances, undergraduate students conduct research with one or more undergraduates such that they equally share the work on a project. To apply to SURCA to present one poster together with a  joint presenter(s), you must both (1) submit individual applications and (2) list each other as a joint presenter; if there are multiple joint presenters, each individual must apply separately, use the same abstract, and list all partnering joint presenters. If you win an award as joint presenters, you will share a single monetary award.
  • Co-Authors: You should list (in order of their degree of involvement in the work) all people (called “co-authors”) who contributed to your project, such as those who reviewed your data, helped you with research procedures, etc. The list can include your mentor, but do not include your own name.
  • Mentor(s): This is the person(s) who mentors you in the research, scholarship, or creative activity you will present on at SURCA. A mentor is often a co-author on your work, but does not need to be. Your project mentor may be an individual from off campus or a faculty member. The individual(s) who are your mentors for your project should be listed.
  • Campus: Students who are not physically located on the Pullman campus and are unable to describe their poster and work at SURCA in person may do so virtually. Students presenting virtually are still judged and expected to answer the judges’ questions and be available to interact virtually with SURCA guests.
  • How many semesters: Please indicate how many semesters you have been involved in undergraduate research. Please include all of your research experiences, not just those semesters spent on this specific project. Include all mentored work in a research lab or on a research internship, or all mentored scholarly or creative activity experiences (such as work composing music or writing a book).
  • How many summers: Please indicate how many summers you have been involved in undergraduate research. Please include all of your summer research experiences, not just the summers spent on this specific project. Include all mentored work in a research lab or on a research internship, or all mentored scholarly or creative activity experiences (such as work composing music or writing a book).
  • Category: Descriptions of the categories can be found on our SURCA participation categories page. Please read the descriptions and discuss with your advisor prior to making a selection. The category you select is very important as this is the category in which you will be evaluated and eligible for awards. Your major, or the department you are doing the project in, does not dictate the category. The category should be selected based on the project that you are doing. For example, a biologist who is developing a math model for the spread of hantavirus infections might find their project works best in the “Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, and Information Sciences” category. Students who are developing a more insect resistant strain of wheat or an antibiotic might find the “Applied Sciences” category most applicable. Students selecting the “Research Proposal” category will need to also select a subcategory from one of the other existing categories. This is so judges with appropriate expertise can be assigned to evaluate your presentation in the Research Proposal category.
  • Abstracts: Abstracts are entered directly into the application form, which has the ability to accept formatting and special characters in the abstract field. Please see below for tips on writing the abstract.

If You Have Questions

We ask that you first review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page. If, after checking that page, you still have questions about SURCA details or the online application form, send an email to

Expect a Confirmation

You will receive an email confirming receipt of your application within three days. If you do not receive a confirmation, then your application was not successfully transmitted, so please submit it again. If you believe you are experiencing technical difficulties, please send an email to to get some assistance.

Also note that you will be informed by email in mid March as to whether you have been accepted to participate in SURCA.

Tips on How to Write Your Abstract

Follow these general guidelines when writing your abstract:

  • Scope: Presentations must be about work performed as an undergraduate under the guidance of a mentor.
  • Originality: Acceptance of your application will depend on your abstract demonstrating that your work has scientific, scholarly, or creative significance that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to your discipline.
  • Length: Abstracts must be 350 words or less in length.
  • Content: Your abstract should clearly describe your original research, scholarship, or creative activity as follows:
    • For creative projects: The creative endeavor must be clearly described in the abstract. Methods used to accomplish the creative activity must be described, any background or history related to the activity/product must be provided, and any program notes that help put the creative endeavor or process into perspective should be included.
    • For scientific projects: A goal or hypothesis for the project must be clearly stated, results summarized, and a conclusion reached.
  • Audience: The abstract submitted in your application must be understandable by a general audience and be free of technical jargon. This abstract is provided to the judges prior to the event, and the SURCA staff use the abstract to assign judges to specific presentations. A different abstract (i.e. containing more technical language) may be used on your poster.
  • Important note on format: In order for your abstract to be properly processed by our web form software, you must input the abstract directly into the application as formatted text rather than upload. If you encounter problems during the entry process, or have any questions about submitting your abstract, send an email to to get some assistance. (Be sure your name is included in the body of the email.)