Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Entering college, most students are unsure about things like the right major, career path, and what they want to do with their life. College is the journey that helps students discover who they are and what direction they want to take their life. Most students do not even consider things like getting published in a scientific Journal while still pursuing their undergraduate degree, but for Zackary Gregg and Waleed Ijaz it happened. Recently these two had their paper, “Complex Formation during SID and Its Effect on Proton Mobility”, published in The Journal Of Physical Chemistry Letters with their faculty member, Dr. George Barnes. Their undergraduate research has truly made an impact on their future.

Below is the abstract of their work. Full the full paper please visit: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jz402093q
Surface-induced dissociation (SID) of protonated peptides is a vibrant, active field of study. Significant focus has been placed on understanding the mechanism of dissociation, with most approaches using equilibrium thermodynamic arguments. Here, we explore the dynamics of SID using atomistic simulations. We find that it is common for complexes of peptide fragments to form following dissociation. An important consequence of complexation is that excess protons are not isolated following initial fragmentation and can participate in subsequent chemical reactions. Our work reveals an alternate mechanism for proton mobility that, to our knowledge, has not been previously observed in simulations.

Brittany Angelini '14

Senior Brittany Angelini has been working with Dr. Wendy Pojmann researching the competing expressions of female sexuality and the sexual liberation of women in Italy during the unification period. The ideas they explored through this research is aiding Dr. Pojmann in the writing of a book. This research has grown Brittany’s interest in the subject matter and she is considering continuing working on research on her own and presenting information she finds to Dr. Pojmann.
          During the research process, Brittany came across many dead ends in her research. When she felt she could really be onto something she either couldn't find more information or there was a language barrier. But in the end, Brittany found out that the benefits of the research outweighed any of the challenges she had to face. Through the research she began to see and use all the skills she has acquired at Siena the past three and a half years. According to Brittany, “It was honestly remarkable to realize how much [she] was capable of and how interesting research can be”.
          Doing undergraduate research can completely change your college experience. To Brittany it was something that helped her broaden her knowledge, and it forced her to think as a historian opposed to a student aspiring to be a historian. The work required helps show the lengths it takes to answer your research questions to the best of your ability. Working with Dr. Pojmann helped Brittany discover this. Brittany describes Dr. Pojmann as, “not only an amazing mentor, but a brilliant woman who serves as a major source of inspiration and motivation”. Undergraduate research is an awarding experience that she would absolutely do again.

Brittany Angelini

Senior – Class of 2014
School of Liberal Arts
History Education Major

Siena's Federal Reserve Challenge Team

Siena’s Federal Reserve Challenge Team placed in the Top 6 out of 35 Colleges in the New York Federal Reserve District.

          The College Fed Challenge is a team competition for undergraduate college students inspired by the working of the Federal Open Market Committee. It is intended to encourage students to learn more about the U.S. macro economy, the Federal Reserve System and the implementation of monetary policy and financial stability policy. It is also aimed at spurring interest in economics and finance as subjects for advanced study and as the basis for a career.
          Siena’s Team was composed of finance majors: Vincent Crocitto, Nathaniel McDonald, and Brian DiCaprio and economics majors: Matthew Beyer and Robert Burklund.
          In the preliminary round on November 5th , they received 18 out of 20 points for their 15 minute presentation on the appropriate path for future monetary policy and their ability to explain and defend their position during a 15 minute question and answer period. The score bested the teams from schools such as Cornell, SUNY-Binghamton, and Rutgers. For only the second time in six years, Siena’s Team advanced to the November 18th semi-finals at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City. In the morning competition, our students performed well, but in a strong division failed to defeat the school that emerged from the afternoon finals as the winner.

          In addition, the training and preparation of the presenters was facilitated by alternate presenter Gregory Morrison and by a group of dedicated support personal, including, Selma Chamy, Steven Lanciotti, and David Troiano. Dr. Thomas Kopp of the Finance Department was their faculty adviser.

Congratulations to the entire group for their accomplishment, which was the by-product of many hours of hard work.

Michael Duffy '15

Michael Duffy

Junior – Class of 2015
School of Business
Accounting Major

While researching gun violence and gun control in the United States with Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, Junior Michael Duffy, found undergraduate research to be an awarding experience.

          Being an accounting major, his project was geared towards statistics. It had a broad linkage to his major field. Michael believes that the linkage to research, something you are interested in, and your major or future career interest is a great advantage.

          Michael presented off campus at the Upstate New York Undergraduate Research Conference and found it to be a “wonderful experience”. There he was able to receive feedback which helped him shape his research. According to Michael it was “great to interact with other students and see what they have been working on". Michael also saw this as a great opportunity to work on his public speaking skills.

          Michael’s goals for his current research are to gather as much information as possible and clean it up enough to get published.

Devin Rigolino '13

Some Advice from a CURCA Alumnus

Devin Rigolino, recent graduate from Siena, currently works as a Stewardship Coordinator at Saratoga P.L.A.N. Devin is grateful for his experiences with undergraduate research because it helped him develop valuable skills and connections which assisted him in his search for a job after college. While at Siena, Devin was highly involved in CURCA. Throughout his time at Siena, he participated in several different research opportunities, worked with several faculty members, as well as participated in several internships and independent study courses. Under the Environmental Studies Department, he spent time working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as part of an ongoing research project taking place within the Kromma Kill Watershed, the very watershed that Siena College lies in. He also conducted research under the Department of Chemistry doing analyses where he tested soil samples for traces of heavy metal contaminants. During his senior year at Siena he also spent time working as an intern for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation at the Wildlife Resource Center, and co-authored an interpretive text for an international herpetology conservation organization. He also worked on a GIS mapping project for a member of the Biology faculty, which was of joint interest between two conservation organizations, one of which is now his employer.

Devin believes that engaging in research is “a great opportunity to begin the transition from traditional classroom learning to working in a professional setting at your first job. The skills that you take away really help prepare you for life after college, and more often than not, during these research opportunities and internships you will network and meet people who will be able to help you achieve your goals”. Devin presented his GIS mapping results off campus to representatives from Saratoga PLAN, the principle land trust serving Saratoga County. Here was where he was able to begin making connections that ultimately led him to joining PLAN full-time.

According to Devin, “Networking and meeting people within your field of study cannot be emphasized enough”. The contacts he made during his time with CURCA not only served as references during his job hunt, but many of these contacts also helped bring job opportunities to his attention. The faculty members that he had the opportunity to work closely with at Siena have served as major assets in getting him to where he is today. Strengthening relationships with these professors played an important role in his undergraduate experience.
In his current job, Devin says that his research helped him gain time management and organizational skills. It has helped him prepare for his current role in his company and believes undergraduate research will help prepare anyone as they transition into their careers.

Devin’s advice to current students

College can be very comfortable if you allow it to be. It is very easy to just go to class, fill your CAPP report and let your four years fly by. My advice to anyone looking to get into graduate school or wanting to obtain a job within their field of study would be to engage in as many opportunities as possible, and if none appear to you, seek them out or create them.

There are colleges and universities all over the county cranking out fresh batches of graduates every year, and the only way to stand out from the crowd is to make you as experienced as possible. Not every academic institution offers research opportunities to its undergraduate students; Siena is special in this sense, so take advantage of it!
Devin Rigolino ‘13
Stewardship Coordinator
Saratoga P.L.A.N.