Joseph Giancaspro ’20 (Biochemistry) has just returned from Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, where he was selected to present his Chemistry research as part of the 23rd Annual Posters on the Hill event of the Council on Undergraduate Research. In his presentation and meetings with Congressional staff, he testified to the significance of undergraduate research initiatives to members of Congress. His research project, titled “The Ubiquitous Drug: Caffeine’s Effect on a Cell Membrane Model under Electrophysiological Observation,” went through a rigorous and highly competitive review process and was selected from among 350 applications from around the nation from the fields of Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences, and Engineering. Joseph, along with his research mentor Dr. Sunghee Lee, Board of Trustees Endowed Professor of Chemistry, joined an elite group of undergraduate student researchers representing 43 states, on April 29-30, 2019 in Washington DC. They bore witness to the importance and the value of federal investment in undergraduate research, to members of Congress, congressional staff and federal government officials, including staff from Senator Schumer and Representative Sean Maloney. It is remarkable to note that Joseph is the second Iona student selected to showcase a research project at the Posters on the Hill event. This is a testament to the extraordinary quality of research activities undertaken by Iona undergraduate students.
Joseph has commented that being “selected to attend and present at the ‘Posters on the Hill’ event in Washington, DC was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. . . . At the event, I had the opportunity to discuss my project with government representatives and lawmakers both at the event and in private sessions. It was very meaningful to have the chance to represent Iona College and be an advocate for institutions that support research at the undergraduate level. In addition, it was great to meet other undergraduate researchers from across the country to share personal experiences, successes and challenges”.
Such an experience undoubtedly teaches Iona’s undergraduate students that they can be a member of our nation’s scientific community, and can vocally advocate for the positive impact that undergraduate research has on our country’s education, intellectual leadership, and future success.