More than 120 projects representing the mentored work of Washington State University students will be featured Mon., March 29 from 3:00-4:15 p.m. at the virtual Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA).

“We are delighted to welcome the WSU community and public to virtual SURCA 2021 to learn about our students’ efforts in research, scholarship, and creative activities,” said Mary Sanchez Lanier, assistant vice provost.

“They have pursued topics ranging from the ethics of DNA databases to spinach pests, from human-pain modeling to concert-band overtures, and from the effect of a fungal pesticide on honeybees to microbiome engineering. Spread over nine diverse categories, the breadth of subjects investigated is amazing.

“The public can use a new searchable presentation list to find a wealth of information and to find links to attend student presentations. Instructions for using the list are on the webpage, and guests can search by name, mentor name, project key words, campus location, and much more. We encourage guests to explore the list before the start of the event and make a plan for which presentations they’d like to attend.”

New to SURCA this year

Sanchez said that this year there are many new aspects to SURCA, which is the only WSU-wide venue where undergraduates from all majors, in all years of college, and on all campuses can share their research. The 2021 event—part of WSU Showcase—represents the tenth such student research showcase in as many years.

For the first time, students will present their work to judges and the public online using the Zoom platform; in the past, in-person poster events were held in the ballroom of the Compton Union Building. The move to virtual presentations allows SURCA to proceed despite restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sanchez said.

“We will use Zoom breakout rooms to create presentation spaces for smaller groups of students to utilize. Each student will talk for up to 10 minutes and answer questions for five minutes, then meet again at a session open only to judges and presenters where more in-depth discussions can occur. Students will use PowerPoint slides to detail their work.”

The use of online technology for judges’ scoring is also new this year. As in the past, judges will evaluate presentations according to a common rubric but will now enter scores and comments to students utilizing specialized software.

Sanchez said that a new SURCA category was added this year, named “research proposal.” It is for students who identify a knowledge gap and propose experimental or future research.

Finally, the awards to top presenters in all categories will be made the day following SURCA instead of immediately following presentations. The online SURCA awards ceremony will begin at 4:00 p.m. Tues., March 30 using a YouTube Live link described on the SURCA website.

Joining online SURCA presentations

Sanchez encourages the WSU community to explore the searchable presentation list on the SURCA website.

“It is basically an online book of project abstract summaries. It also provides links to the Zoom meetings, information on breakout rooms, and the time each project will be presented,” said Sanchez. The searchable presentation list displays sets of information on data “cards”—one for each individual or set of presenters associated with the same presentation title.

So, how do you use the list to look up a particular student presenter at SURCA 2021? Or all WSU Global Campus participants? Or the names and projects of students working with a specific faculty mentor? Or the Zoom meeting breakout room and time that a certain student will present?

There are two easy ways to search:

  • Use the search box and enter a student name, campus, keyword, and so on, and “cards” with that information will appear.
  • Use the “sort projects by” feature, which facilitates looking up presentations by category, project title, student and mentor names, majors, campuses, and time of a presentation.

“Then, you simply read the cards that appear,” said Sanchez. Describing the information on such a card, she said:

  • Category shows which of nine SURCA 2021 categories this presentation is in. Each category is color-coded in the cards. AD is “arts and design” in pink, AS is “applied sciences” in green, and so on.
  • Project ID is an identifier unique to each presentation that shows the number of the presentation within that category. “AD1,” for example, identifies the first project in the SURCA category of “arts and design.”
  • Project title shows the name of the project—which is also known as the abstract title. Clicking on the “+” sign will reveal the full abstract—up to 350 words describing the research; to close it, click on the “-“ sign.
  • Student presenter(s) names list all of those who are presenting this project.
  • Major(s) indicates what the student(s) listed in their application as their academic major.
  • Mentor(s) show the faculty who work with the student(s) on this research.
  • Campus indicates at which WSU branch the presenter(s) are students.
  • Zoom meeting + breakout room + presentation time indicates where and when the presenter(s) will explain their research, for example “Z1/BR2/3:40” indicates Zoom room number 1, breakout room 2, presenting at 3:40 p.m.
  • Connect to Zoom provides a link you can use to join the Zoom meeting a particular presentation will be in from 3:00-4:15 p.m. during SURCA; once you have connected to the Zoom meeteing, you can select the presentation’s breakout room at the appropriate time to enter that breakout room to see the presentation. You may choose to attend any presentations and you are free to move around to different presentation rooms.

“We welcome WSU and community members to join us at this virtual SURCA event and awards ceremony the following day, so we can show our students how much we support and value their contributions to the critical research enterprise at our university,” said Sanchez.

For more information, visit the SURCA website or send questions to the designated Q&A email.