WSU SURCA research awards presented to Honors College students


May 3, 2022

MEDIA CONTACTS: Jeremy Lessmann, Director, WSU Office of Undergraduate Research, 509-335-2098,

Beverly Makhani, Director, WSU DAESA Communications, 509-432-3430,


PULLMAN, Wash.— Students in the Washington State University Honors College received numerous awards at the spring 2022 Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) for presentations of their research, scholarship, and creative activities.

SURCA is the unique WSU-wide venue for students from all majors, years in college, and all WSU campuses to share their mentored research, and have judges evaluate their work as shown on a poster. At this year’s event, around 140 students from four campuses were among those accepted to present 112 posters to 90 judges. Faculty, postdoctoral students, and community experts used a common rubric to evaluate and score presentations across nine SURCA categories.

At the awards ceremony, 43 total students from WSU Pullman and Vancouver and the Global Campus were announced as recipients of 33 awards. In total, nearly $8,000 will be given to them to support the efforts.

Showcasing high-impact activity and learning

“It is always a pleasure to see what our students are researching, and to have them together to present in person in one room again this year was great,” said Jeremy Lessmann, director of the WSU Office of Undergraduate Research. It is part of the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement (DAESA) in the provost’s office and is the official SURCA host.

“Undergraduate research is vital to our university as a high-impact activity that enriches every student’s academic pursuits, and to host SURCA as the premier place to showcase their work is both an honor and a tradition,” said William B. Davis, interim vice provost for academic engagement and student achievement.

SURCA 2022 awardees

Four levels of awards in each SURCA category are possible, ranging from the top crimson award to the second-highest gray award, and also covering early-career awards for first-year and sophomore students and a novice researcher award for those engaged in a project for two semesters or less.

By SURCA category, the top Honors presenters’ names, majors, mentors, and project titles for 2022 are:

Computer Science


  • Dana Pittman, biochemistry and Honors College, mentor Bill Davis, “Implementation of Coefficient of Variation for Fluctuating Mice Ecology When Modeling Zoonoses Using Stochastic Methodologies”

Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology


  • Olivia Hayden, biochemistry and Honors College, mentors Alan Goodman and R. Marena Guzman, “Dredd Protects Against Coxiella burnetii Infection in Drosophila melanogaster
  • Evelyn Rowe, basic medical sciences and Honors College, mentors Alan Goodman and Chasity Trammell, “Insulin-mediated Antiviral Immunity to WNV Using the Drosophila melanogaster


  • Rafael Urrutia-Camargo, neuroscience and Honors College, mentor Ryan McLaughlin, “Effects of Lateral Habenula 2-Arachidonylglycerol Manipulation on Dorsal Raphe Nucleus Immediate Early Gene Expression”
  • Stephen Fawcett, microbiology and Spanish and Honors College, mentor Michael Letko, “Characterization of Novel Cell Lines for Viral Infection Assays”
  • Sean Thompson, genetics and cell biology, and Natalie Williams, microbiology, both in Honors College, mentor Ryan Driskell, “Developmental Timing of Rete Ridges in Porcine Skin Offers Insights into Human Skin Formation”
  • Alexandra Puzon, microbiology and Honors College, mentor Steven Roberts, “Characterizing Mechanisms of Indel Mutations Induced by APOBEC3A and APOBEC3B”

Research Proposal


  • Olivia Willis, neuroscience and psychology and Honors College, mentors Cheryl Reed and Xianming Shi, “Exploring the Stereotypes of Scientists in Fourth Through Eighth Grade Students”
  • Maya Nuno, neuroscience and psychology and Honors College, mentor Angela Henricks, “Sex Differences in the Drinking Behavior of Dependent and Non-dependent Rodents”



  • Noah Howell, computer science and Honors College, mentor Lydia Gerber, “The Impact of Taoism on Women in China”

Engineering and Physical Sciences


  • Gunnar Sly, chemical engineering and Honors College, mentor Jean-Sabin McEwen, “Elucidating X-ray Photoelectron Spectra of RhCu SAAs from First-Principles”
  • Eleanor Curtright, civil engineering and Honors College, mentor Pete Robichaud, “Reflective Ash: Determining Spectral Signatures of Wet and Dry Wildfire Ash”


  • Emma Gunter, strategic communication and Honors College; Jacob Mahon, mechanical engineering; Reid Parsons, mechanical engineering and Honors College; Evan Rodriguez, bioengineering and Honors College; Calli Shafer, finance and marketing; Caden Weiner, computer science and Honors College; Rachel Willison, marketing; mentor Lynne Cooper, “Aircraft Skin Defect Inspection Via Drone”
  • Joshua Bilsky, chemistry, physics, and astronomy and Honors College, mentor Fred Gittes, “Statistical Analysis of Brownian Motion Data Published in Jean Perrin’s Book ‘Les Atomes’”


  • Erich Whitley, chemical engineering and Honors College, mentor Su Ha, “Bimetallic Catalysts for the Ethanol Oxidation Stage of the CAPER Process”

Social Sciences


  • Caitlin Ottaway, Honors College; Matteya Proctor, Honors College; Cheyenne Schneider; all neuroscience and psychology; mentors Courtney Kurinec, John Hinson, Paul Whitney; “Sleep Loss and Risk Taking: An Integrative Review”
  • Mollee Gray, neuroscience and Honors College, mentors Paul Whitney and John Hinson, “The Relationship Between Somatic Markers and Working Memory in Risky Decision Making”


Jacqui Thomasson, journalism and media production, management, and Honors College, mentor Lisa Waananen Jones, “Ethical Decision Making in Relation to Myocarditis News Headlines”