WSU Honors College students receive 15 research awards at the SURCA 2021 presentation event March 29

MEDIA: Mary Sanchez Lanier, WSU assistant vice provost, 509-335- 2320,

PULLMAN, Wash.—More than a quarter of Washington State University students who delivered virtual presentations won monetary awards at the annual Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) on March 29 in Pullman.

SURCA is the unique WSU-wide venue for students from all majors, years in college, and from all WSU campuses. Seventeen students from the WSU Honors College received 15 awards for presentations detailing their research, scholarship, and creative activities conducted with a mentor.
Faculty, postdoctoral students, and community experts used a common rubric to judge and score all presentations in nine SURCA categories that are designed to cover all disciplines at the university. The SURCA awards ceremony was the day following presentations, on March 30.

WSU tradition

“All students accepted to present at SURCA are eagerly engaged in high-impact, mentored research with their mentors, and are helping to reinforce WSU’s standing as a top-tier research institution,” said Mary Sanchez Lanier, assistant vice provost. “The Office of Undergraduate Research is honored to host the SURCA event, a WSU tradition where students share their work with judges and the public.”
Based on scores, top presenters receive monetary awards for their efforts. For 2021, SURCA sponsors included alumnus Robert H. (’77 Engineering and Honors) and Mary L. Rieck, Coug parents from Richland, and the WSU Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President.

SURCA 2021 award winners from the Honors College

Shown by SURCA category in alphabetical order, the awardees, their mentors, and research topics are:

Applied Sciences

Crimson Award: Christina Webster, mentor Haluk Beyenal, on “The Cultivation of “Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus;”

Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, and Information Sciences

Crimson Award: Krista Brutman, mentor Bertrand Tanner, on “Computational Simulations of Drug Effects on Mouse Cardiac Muscle Contraction”

Engineering and Physical Sciences

Gray Award: Cheryl Lynn Aarnio, David Ben Rodriguez, and Lydia Rose Weddle, with non-Honors teammates Arianna Marie Claveria, Sara McMorrow, and Khrystine Raymond, mentor Lynne Cooper, “Improving Efficiency of an Industrial NOx Scrubber;”

Novice Award: Ellen Hilbun, mentor Sergey Lapin, “Modeling the Effects of Cardiac Arrythmias”

Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology

Crimson Awards: Madeleine Harvey, mentor Kanako Hayashi, “Characterization of Endometriosis-associated Pain Using a Mouse Model of Endometriosis:” Sophie Mackinnon, mentor Alan Goodman, “Insulin-mediated Immunity During West Nile Virus Infection in Drosophila melanogaster and Culex quinquefasciatus;” Olivia Hayden, mentors Alan Goodman and R. Marena Guzman, “dmSTING and Dredd Protect Against Coxiella burnetii Infection in Drosophila melanogaster;” Caitlin Fitzpatrick, mentor Holly Neibergs, “Identification of Genes and Gene Networks Associated wit Milk Protein in Dairy Cattle;” Sean Thompson, mentor Ryan Driskell, “scATAC-seq and scRNA-seq Elucidate the Epigenetic and Transcriptional States of Regenerating Skin in Young Mice”

Gray Award: John Burkland, mentor Raymond Quock, “The Effect of Systemic TLR4 Inhibition on Spontaneous Opiate Withdrawal in the Mouse”

Organismal, Population, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology

Novice Award: Megan Johnsen, mentor Rebecca Craft, “Ensure® Consumption vs. Noxious Stimulus-Evoked Behaviors as Measures of Pain in Female and Male Rats”

Research Proposal

Crimson Award: Abigail Rossi with non-Honors teammate Max Melville, mentor Ryan McLaughlin, “Does Sex or Quantity Matter? Investigating Sex Differences in the Long-term Effects of Adolescent Cannabis Use on Cognitive Flexibility”

Gray Awards: Kyla Quale, mentor Erica Crespi, “Effect of Leptin on Wound Healing in Xenopus laevis in the Presence of Aeromonas hydrophil;” Kelsey Dearing, mentor Amanda Boyd, “Helping Washington State University Faculty and Staff Support and Respond to Students in Distress”

Social Sciences
Gray award: Caitlin Ottaway, with non-Honors teammates Amaya Pelagio, and Cheyenne Schneider, mentors John Hinson and Paul Whitney, “Sleep Loss and Risky Decision Making: An Integrative Review;”