SURCA awards 43 top undergraduate researchers

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESPULLMAN, Wash. – Thirty-seven awards were presented to 43 Washington State University students at the third annual Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) on March 28.

“Not every student can win an award, but certainly every student who participated in SURCA 2014 is a winner from our perspective,” said Mary Sanchez Lanier, assistant vice provost who oversees undergraduate research.

“They represent the future of our state, the nation, and the world,” said Shelley Pressley, director of the undergraduate research program, part of the WSU Office of Undergraduate Education.

192 students participate

SURCA-winners-600While many students from urban campuses traveled to attend SURCA, access was also available to two place-bound students thanks to videoconferencing provided by WSU Global Campus. A student studying abroad in Mexico and a WSU Vancouver student spoke with judges at the Pullman event.

The work of 192 students WSU-wide was detailed in 11 oral and 145 poster presentations open to faculty, staff, students and guests. More than 100 judges evaluated the presentations, including emeriti faculty, retirees, faculty, staff, post-doctoral students and industry experts.

SURCA awards were made in eight categories; the number of awards in each was partially determined by the number of students competing.

The highest award is crimson, then gray. Fourteen crimson and 14 gray awards were presented. There were also eight novice awards to students who have worked up to two semesters on their project and were judged to show “exceptional promise.”

Exceptional promise, accomplishment

“I think everyone who competed, judged, and visited SURCA this year had a great time and learned a lot from our hard-working students,” Pressley said.

“Just working on some pretty fantastic projects with a mentor and then applying and being accepted to share knowledge at SURCA are resume- and vita-building accomplishments,” said Sanchez Lanier.

Find the list of winners, their abstracts, funding and judging sponsors and a short story about the strong showing of the digital technology and culture majors from WSU Vancouver at