Top left, Rebecca Podszus, Crimson award winner, with her research poster. Top right, Autumn Segner. Lower right, Segner presents virtually to WSU Provost Dan Bernardo.
WSU Global Campus student Rebecca Podszus’ research on how nature mitigates stress earned a top award at this year’s Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA).
“Presenting at SURCA was so exciting!” said Podszus, a psychology major from Olympia, who traveled to Pullman for the March 27 event. “As online students, we have limited opportunities to interact with the rest of WSU, and this type of in-person event is so valuable.”
Podszus was among 225 students competing at SURCA, the only WSU-wide event featuring the faculty-mentored research and creative activities of undergraduates from all majors and campuses.
Other WSU Global Campus presenters were Megan Block and Leslie Taylor, both psychology majors who came to Pullman for the showcase, and Autumn Segner, a humanities major, who presented online from her home in the Midwest.
Segner sent her research poster to Pullman to be displayed at the competition, and spoke with judges using video-conferencing software. “I certainly recommend SURCA as an opportunity to talk to new people and get a different perspective on your research,” she said.
The judges awarded prizes in eight categories. Podszus earned the Crimson award in the Social Sciences category. “My study focused on nature exposure and stress relief,” she said. “Specifically, I hypothesized that people who feel connected to nature actually seek out nature to relieve stress.”
Dr. Lee Daffin, Jr., psychology professor and faculty-mentor, said participating in SURCA also offers post-graduation benefits. “The experience you gain from presenting at a large scale conference is invaluable,” he said, “and impressive to both graduate schools and future employers.”
To learn more about SURCA, and how to participate at next year’s competition, visit surca.wsu.edu.