posted April 11, 2011

Danielle Silletti of Canton Chosen for National Research Event

 Hope College senior Danielle Silletti of Canton is one of only 74 undergraduates nationwide chosen to participate in the annual "Posters on the Hill" reception organized by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) on Wednesday, April 13, in Washington, D.C.

Silletti, who is majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry, was chosen for research related to the detection of the presence of radioactive materials that she has been conducting with Dr. Graham Peaslee, who is a professor of chemistry and chairperson of the department, and a professor of geology/environmental science.

The event will be held on Capitol Hill in the Rayburn House Office Building from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  Each student will present his or her research, displayed on posters, to the members of Congress, congressional staff members, federal government officials and others in attendance.

This year's event is taking place in conjunction with the national Undergraduate Research Week.  Hope has also scheduled multiple events through Saturday, April 16, in local celebration of the national week.

Peaslee's research team, supported through grants from both the Department of Homeland Security and the National Science Foundation, has been exploring a new method of determining whether or not radioactive material has been present in a location.  The approach is based on the idea that the radiation will have affected the structure of common minerals nearby, such as feldspars and carbonates, in a way that can be measured even though they will no longer be radioactive.  The team has been studying the materials' cathodoluminescence, which is the visible light that they emit when struck by a beam generated by an electron gun.

Silletti has been working with Peaslee on the project since the fall of her sophomore year, including during both the school year and the summer.  She is also a co-author with other students of two poster presentations regarding the work that will be made during the college's 10th annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance on Friday, April 15, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the DeVos Fieldhouse.

Silletti is a 2007 graduate of SalemHigh School, and is the daughter of Michael and Sharon Silletti of Canton.  After graduation she will hold a year-long internship with the FBI in Quantico, Va., where she had also interned in the summer of 2010, after which she intends to pursue graduate study.

Founded in 1978, CUR is a national organization of individual and institutional members representing more than 900 colleges and universities. CUR and its affiliated colleges, universities, and individuals share a focus on providing undergraduate research opportunities for faculty and students at all institutions serving undergraduate students. CUR believes that faculty members enhance their teaching and contribution to society by remaining active in research and by involving undergraduates in research.

Additional information about the college's celebration of national Undergraduate Research Week, including a complete schedule, is available online at www.hope.edu/resources/naturweek/Home.htm