The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

CERCA taking place on campus

Students to showcase their research and creative activity during week-long event
Photo by Isabella Matczak
CERCA is from April 22-26 in multiple buildings on campus. Access the schedule and locations on their website.

Every year since 1992, UW-Eau Claire has provided students with the opportunity to present their scholarly work during the Celebration of Excellence in Research and Creative Activity (CERCA). 

Both graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to showcase the work they put into their research or other creative projects, whether that is in the form of poster boards, performances, films or oral presentations.

Students in all disciplines are welcome to present, including those from UW-Eau Claire, UW-Eau Claire-Barron County or Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC).

CERCA is a week-long series, occurring April 22-26. It originally began in 1992 as a one-day event called Student Research Day with only 60 posters presented, but it has since evolved and expanded.

Sponsoring this event is the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP). Erica Benson is an English professor at UW-Eau Claire and the director of ORSP. 

One of the ways that we fulfill our mission is to celebrate the achievements of our researchers. UW-Eau Claire’s ORSP also houses the Center of Excellence for Faculty and Undergraduate Student Research Collaboration within the UW System,” Benson said. 

Throughout the year, ORSP helps fund research collaborations between faculty and students, provides funds for research conducted abroad, helps students who need to travel to present their research at conferences and also helps students apply for scholarships and grants.

According to Benson, there are 516 UW-Eau Claire students and 11 CVTC students presenting at CERCA this year, some students even presenting more than one project. There are also 175 UW-Eau Claire faculty members that have been helping mentor these students as they prepare.

A variety of events are occurring this CERCA week, such as the Mathematics Retreat, the Provost’s Honors Symposium, the Latin American and Latinx Studies Capstones, the Global and Domestic Immersions presentations, the NOTA Spring Reading and much more.

You can access the full schedule of events here.

One of the many presenters is Rachel Horejsi, a third-year microbiology and bioinformatics student. According to Horejsi, she is giving two presentations this year: a poster presentation on Thursday, April 25 and an oral presentation at the Provost’s Honors Symposium on Friday, April 26.

“I have put a substantial amount of time and effort into preparing for both presentations,” Horejsi said. “My research mentor, lab mates and I spent a lot of time analyzing our data, preparing figures and captions, drafting the narrative of our research story and piecing everything together in a presentable fashion.” 

Horejsi’s research presentations are titled “Quantitative ethology of a human parasitic flatworm” and “Developing quantitative methods to quantify ‘Schistosoma mansoni’ miracidia behavior and responsiveness.”

“One thing that motivates me the most about our work is the broader context. Being a part of research that is at the edge of innovation and that has such important implications has been such a great opportunity. I am really excited to share that work with everyone at CERCA,” Horejsi said.

All students and community members are welcome to attend CERCA, even if they are not presenting. 

“Students can discover amazing student-faculty research/creative opportunities on campus, connect with students and faculty engaged in research and perhaps find a project to join or a mentor to work with,” Benson said. 

According to Benson, students can even earn EDI Tier 2 credit by attending certain presentations, get a free professional headshot taken, attend Career Services workshops and support their friends and classmates by watching their presentations.

“It’s a great opportunity to talk to presenters about their experiences in research, to network and to learn new things,” Horejsi said. “As a presenter myself this year, I can honestly say that I would love nothing more than to answer any questions students may have.”

To find out where the presentations are taking place during this CERCA week from April 22-26, access the schedule on their website.

Matczak can be reached at [email protected].

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