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Celebration of Excellence in Research + Creative Activity

CERCA will be held April 22-26, 2024

UW-Eau Claire's annual Celebration of Excellence in Research and Creative Activity (CERCA) is a week-long series of events showcasing student research, scholarly, and creative activities. CERCA gives undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to present the results of their research and creative activity. The event highlights student research accomplishments and contributions to the academic community.

Any UW-Eau Claire or UW-Eau Claire-Barron County student engaged in collaborative or independent research or scholarly creative work is eligible to apply. Chippewa Valley Technical College students are also welcome. Researchers in all disciplines are encouraged to apply.

All projects must make new knowledge by building from previous knowledge or creating new perspectives.

CERCA Application Process: Deadline March 1st  APPLY HERE

*If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the due date will be extended to the following Monday.

See detailed information for each step below.  

1. Decide on a Presentation Format

In conversation with your faculty/staff mentor, decide which presentation format will best suit your research or creative project. CERCA supports five presentation formats:

1. Poster Presentation: A 42" X 46" poster. At least one presenter will be present during their assigned presentation time. Please email cerca@uwec.edu if you need access to an electrical outlet and/or bistro table.

2. Oral Presentation: Oral presentations are 12 minutes plus 3 minutes for discussion. These will be grouped by topic. The presentation rooms are equipped with computers and projectors. Creative writing presentations should present a research context alongside other work. Please email cerca@uwec.edu if you require any other accommodations or have questions.

3. Art or Other Display with Explanation: For presenting art, hands-on demonstrations, or anything else not conducive to a 'poster only' format, your display should include text explaining the research context for your creative work. At least one presenter should be present during their assigned presentation time. A rectangular table will be provided. please email cerca@uwec.edu if you need access to an electrical outlet and/or a standard 42"x46" posterboard. 

Please note: We are unable to provide laptops, computers, or similar technology. You may visit McIntyre Library Student Equipment Checkout for details on renting equipment. If you are presenting a video or film, a "Performance of Film with Lecture" may better fit your needs.

4. Performance: Typically 25 minutes for a musical or theatrical performance which may include a contextualizing lecture. We will do our best to accommodate any needs including using Woodland Theatre. Please contact cerca@uwec.edu to discuss details or any accommodations required. 

5. Film with Lecture: Typically 25 minutes for an original film which includes a contextualizing lecture.

*Additional Note: If your presentation is being nominated for the Provost's Honors Symposium, there is no need to also submit to CERCA. If not accepted to the PHS it will be automatically included in CERCA.

2. Write Abstract and Work with Your Mentor to Refine It

A key component to your CERCA application is your abstract (200 words maximum). For details on writing your abstract, please read the Abstract writing guide. Here is a brief summary of what you will find in the guide.

An abstract summarizes the important qualities of your project. Successful abstracts, in every discipline, will typically achieve five key goals:

  1. Title your research/creative project.
  2. State your research question, aim, or scholarly goal. (~1 sentence)
  3. Contextualize your project within existing knowledge or ideas. (~1 sentence)
  4. Describe the methods or approach you used. (~2 sentences)
  5. Describe your main conclusions, outcomes, products, or recommendations or expected outcomes. (~2 sentences)

**If eligible for the Mayo Choice Award, beyond your abstract, please add a brief explanation of how your research will improve patient outcomes. This explanation will not count towards the 200 word abstract maximum.

We strongly encourage you to work with your faculty/staff mentor to develop your abstract. Your mentor will have experience writing abstracts and will share expectations for abstracts in your research area. 

Since your CERCA abstract will be published, it is important to:

  • Use terminology that will be clear to a general, non-expert audience.
  • Define abbreviations not universally understood upon first use (include the abbreviation in parentheses immediately after you first use the term; thereafter, you can use the abbreviation).
  • Be concise and strive for clarity.
  • Carefully proofread your work.
For More Focused Assistance with Your Abstract

The Center for Writing Excellence (CWE) is here to support your CERCA project. Please visit the CWE website for more information about the Center for Writing Excellence's services. If you experience any difficulty when setting up an appointment, or if you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to call 715-836-2644.

**Please note that the CWE takes a conversational approach (not an editorial one).

For more assistance, watch a video of Dr. Rylander presenting an abstract writing workshop!

3. Submit Application
Apply Here

Getting Started: The CERCA application is set up so that the lead student author completes the form and adds the names of all collaborators (faculty and student collaborators).  Once the lead student author submits the form, it will be sent to the primary faculty mentor for approval (or revision) before being sent to ORSP. For independent research/creative activity that wasn't performed with a mentor, please enter the name of a UWEC faculty/staff member who is familiar with your work.

Projects with multiple co-authors: One student should submit an application on behalf of all students involved in a project. Student co-authors should not submit a second application and do not need to formally approve the form.

CERCA Acceptance: Student and faculty collaborators with an email address entered on the form will receive an email notification that the application has been accepted. The lead student is responsible for communicating with collaborators, and correctly including their names on the form. Once you receive the CERCA Acceptance email, begin preparing for CERCA!

Publishing: If you would like your poster to be published in UW-Eau Claire's online repository, Minds@UW, your poster will be preserved and made publicly accessible. Your poster can then be found through Google searches and can have a wider impact in the scholarly community. When completing your CERCA application, the lead student author and primary faculty/staff mentor should both agree to publish in Minds@UW. McIntyre Library staff will then publish your research materials in the repository.   

Preparing Your Presentation for CERCA

Preparing a Poster

Poster Preparation: Sign up for a Poster Design Workshop through LTS, contact training@uwec.edu to request individual training, or watch this poster demo video

Poster Size: The recommended sizing for CERCA posters is 42" x 46" (portrait or landscape). 

Poster Design: Each poster should list the title of the project, the student's name, the faculty mentor’s name, and the department’s name at the top. The acknowledgments section should mention the source(s) of your research funding and University Printing Services (for printing the poster). Posters should also include a current UW-Eau Claire brand and wordmark, which can be downloaded here.

Watch this video for more tips and tricks.

Poster Templates: For current poster templates, go here and log in with your UW-Eau Claire username and password. 

Poster Printing: See the poster printing policy. Posters need to be submitted at least 5 business days in advance. 

Preparing an Oral Presentation

CERCA oral presentations are 12 minutes plus 3 minutes for discussion. There will be a moderator in attendance to facilitate the session and keep presentations to their allotted time. There may be other requirements for oral presentations that are part of the Latin American and Latinx Studies Capstones, the Math Retreat, the Population Health and Leadership Colloquium, and the Provost’s Honors Symposium. Please check with the coordinators of those events for more information.

PowerPoint Templates: PowerPoint templates for oral presentation slides can be found here. Presentation Slides: Plan to have your presentation slides accessible via your OneDrive or email or a memory stick/jump drive. 

Tips and Tricks for presentations:

  1. Know your audience. Don't assume everyone in the audience understands your topic. Talk about your research in a way that is easily understood and accessible to all.
  2. Focus on your main message. What is the most important thing you want the audience to understand after they listen to your presentation? What do you find most interesting about your project?
  3. Speak slowly and simply. Utilize pauses when presenting and simplify the vocabulary you use. Avoid using confusing jargon and make sure to explain any ideas that are not well known.
  4. Use your visual aids. This will help your audience follow what you are saying.
Preparing a Performance or Film

Films and performances should generally be shorter than 25 minutes. There will be a moderator in attendance to facilitate the session and keep presentations to their allotted time.

Be sure to plan and practice how you will introduce and conclude your film/performance. One idea may be to briefly share your project title, names of project members, and background. 

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