Feb. 21 deadline to submit SURCA abstracts


By Beverly Makhani, Undergraduate Education

PULLMAN, Wash. – Online applications are welcome through Feb. 21 for student participants in the sixth annual Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA), which will be Monday, March 27, at Washington State University.

Details and a link to the abstract submission form can be found at https://surca.wsu.edu.

SURCA offers a venue for freshmen through seniors in all majors on every campus to share their mentored research, scholarship and creative activities spanning science, humanities, social science, arts and engineering topics. Monetary prizes are awarded to top presenters in eight categories.

Research commitment, job preparation

“SURCA gives students tremendous opportunities to grow both personally and academically,” said Mary Sánchez Lanier, WSU assistant vice provost. “Students must refine and organize knowledge gleaned from their months and even years of work with a research mentor. They must prepare intricate posters and practice concise speeches to tell various audiences about their work and results.

“At the event itself, they learn about the wealth of subjects being investigated by their peers,” she said. “Participants from years past tell us that their understanding of the scope of their work, as well as their commitment to research, was deepened by their SURCA experience.”

SURCA also helps undergraduate researchers refine skills that Washington employers seek in their workplace leaders. Those include critical and creative thinking, communication, quantitative reasoning, scientific literacy, team experience and risk-taking.

Steady growth as part of Showcase

The first SURCA was hosted in 2012 by the Office of Undergraduate Research, part of WSU Undergraduate Education. The numbers of students, judges and prizes have steadily grown.

Student presenters have increased nearly 70 percent: in 2016, 249 students’ abstracts were accepted for presentations. Volunteer judges include faculty members, graduate students, staff and experts from the community. SURCA has given nearly 250 awards, made possible by community and campus sponsors.

SURCA is part of WSU Showcase, the university’s annual celebration of excellence. Learn more at https://showcase.wsu.edu/.