Presenting research and creative work in a formal setting is a mark of true accomplishment in undergraduate studies. The only thing more remarkable is having your presentation win an award, as Hospitality Management major Tricia Tang recently did at the 2012 Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE), hosted by UCF’s Office of Undergraduate Research.

Tang, a Burnett Honors College student graduating this May with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management and a minor in Marketing, took first place in the Social Science IV category, after beating out more than 20 other undergraduates from various disciplines for the award.

The Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence is a poster-or display-based forum for UCF undergraduates to present their research and creative projects to the broader university community. Undergraduates from all disciplines presented current or recently completed academic projects showcasing the diversity of topics, approaches, and interests at UCF.

Tang’s winning poster was titled A Comparative Analysis of College Student Spring Break Destinations: An Empirical Study of Tourism Destination Attributes, which is based on her Honors in the Major thesis. Her undergraduate thesis explores the U.S. college student spring break market by identifying the underlying dimensions of the student perceptions of key spring break destination attributes across major destinations in Florida.

“Developing and researching my thesis was probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done,” said Tang. “But as an undergraduate, I am extremely proud to work on something that others typically begin at the graduate level. It was an honor to win my category and I thank those who helped me along the way.”

Dr. Youngsoo Choi, a professor at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, served as Tang’s thesis chair, advising her throughout the process.

“I guided her throughout the whole process starting from the research question development to data analysis and with the thesis writing,” said Dr. Choi. “Tricia worked so hard on her thesis, while also going through her internship, coursework, and other commitments. I’m very proud of her.”

Showcase judges chose winners for each of its 12 categories based on a 250-word summary of methodology, the presentation, and a student interview. The top winners, including Tricia Tang, were each awarded with a scholarship donated by the UCF Student Government Association and by private contributors.

Thanks to her hard work and dedication, Tang will be the Honors Medallion recipient at the Spring 2012 commencement, which is given to the graduating senior student who has the highest grade point average in Rosen College.