Six Global Campus students travelled to Pullman to present their research at Washington State University’s Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) March 25, with two receiving awards for their work.

Charles Nevin, a psychology major and resident of Long Beach, Calif., received the Crimson Award for his research on the psychological effects of smartphone use. Sydney Wright, a resident of Bellingham, Wash., and also a psychology student, won a Gray Award for her study on test anxiety in relation to proctored and non-proctored exams.

Photo: Charles Nevin, SURCA winner, poses in front of his research poster.
Charles Nevin

SURCA is an annual event designed to give undergraduate students an opportunity to present, and be recognized for, their research, scholarship, and creative activity conducted with a mentor.

“SURCA was a great opportunity to showcase my passion, and it was very validating to be recognized as one of the winners,” said Nevin. “I made some great connections with people who share my interests. The whole experience has inspired me to pursue a graduate degree and continue doing psychological research after I finish my bachelor’s.”

During the event, 206 students from five WSU campuses presented 167 posters detailing their work. Faculty, postdoctoral students, and community experts used a common rubric to judge and score all presentations in eight SURCA categories that cover multiple disciplines.

The top honor awarded for the event is the Crimson Award, with 1-5 being awarded for each of the eight discipline categories. The second highest award is the Gray Award, presented to one or more students in each category. The Early Career Award and Novice Researcher Award are also awarded to SURCA participants.

“It’s an honor to be awarded for my research, and I wasn’t expecting it,” said Wright. “It’s great to get recognized, but I also just enjoyed getting to share my work with like-minded people.”

Though SURCA takes place on WSU’s Pullman campus, the Global Campus student involvement program, Global Connections, makes this event available to all online students, regardless of where they are located.

Over the years, online students have been encouraged to participate in SURCA either by attending remotely through videoconferencing technology or by travelling to Pullman to participate in person. For SURCA 2019, all six Global Campus participants travelled to Pullman to present their research, with some traveling hundreds of miles or making the journey from another state.

Global Connections encourages in-person participation in SURCA by providing financial assistance for travel. Global Campus students selected to present their research or creative activity are eligible for a travel award to help cover travel costs including airfare, vehicle mileage or lodging. ASWSU Global, Global Campus’ student government, also offers travel grants for qualified students.

Nevin accepted travel awards to help cover the cost of traveling from California. According to him, he would not have been able to make the trip without this financial assistance, and he’s very glad this opportunity was made available to him.

“As soon as I arrived on the Pullman campus for the first time, I immediately felt so connected to WSU and the great people here,” said Nevin. “I got to meet some fellow Global Campus students face to face and build camaraderie with them and Pullman students. It was truly an awesome experience.”

According to Wright, being able to physically visit the Pullman Campus and interact directly with fellow students is an invaluable opportunity for online students to strengthen their ties to the Cougar community.

“I used to go to school on the Pullman Campus, so now that I’m an online student, it’s great to be able to get involved in things like SURCA,” she said. “I was really happy to be back on campus, meet some fellow online Cougs, and be able to put faces to the names. It’s a great opportunity.”