Pitt-Greensburg chemistry major places second at national poster symposium

Daniel A. Soisson, a senior majoring in chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, placed second out of nearly 200 entries at the 13th annual UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) Research Poster Symposium. His poster presentation, based on his own research, was an outgrowth of his senior Capstone project.

Soisson’s project was titled “A Sequential Extraction Approach to Evaluation and Comparison of Selected Metals in Soils from Around the United States: Preliminary Results.” Working with Dr. Mark Stauffer, associate professor of Chemistry and chair of the Natural Sciences Division at Pitt-Greensburg, Soisson focused on determining selected metals in four soils obtained from geographically and geologically disparate regions of the United States (California, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Utah) and the extraction procedures employed. 

His purpose was to:  1) attempt characterization of these soils by the types and concentrations of metals, 2) compare the soils in terms of the metals found, 3) determine the presence of toxic metals in the soils, and 4) devise a sequential extraction scheme for determination of metals in the soils, based on pH, ionic strength, and other extraction parameters. 

While Soisson’s research was based on methods already in use, he adjusted and modified several procedures under the guidance and suggestion of Dr. Stauffer. Soisson also will present this poster at Duquense University in December and has submitted the abstract for consideration at other conferences in Baltimore and PITTCON.

“Presentation of one’s research in a conference venue, whether in poster or oral format, is an excellent way to gain experience and confidence in talking about one’s work with various audiences,” explained Dr. Stauffer. “The undergraduate research experience also is excellent preparation for graduate-level work.”

Soisson was one of six Pitt-Greensburg students to participate in this year’s symposium. This is the second consecutive year that a Pitt-Greensburg student placed second at the event. Last year, Kim Roman ’10 placed second with her presentation on how she developed a more environmentally friendly method of comparing methods of iron determination in animal blood. Her method involved the lysing of blood cells and peroxide as opposed to the previous and hazardous wet ashing method.

The UMBC Research Poster Symposium seeks to foster communication of the latest relevant novel results and concepts exclusively in undergraduate research in all areas of chemistry, biology, and biochemistry. More than 400 students and mentors, comprising about 200 contributions, participated in the daylong event. A panel of participating mentors and other attendees judge the posters.

Founded in 1963, the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg is a publicly assisted, four-year, liberal arts college in southwestern Pennsylvania. Pitt-Greensburg offers 24 baccalaureate degree programs, including new majors in Education and Spanish, as well as 19 minors, and numerous relocation program options to the Pittsburgh campus. Fifteen percent of Pitt-Greensburg’s full-time faculty—the highest percentage of any University of Pittsburgh campus—have received the prestigious University-wide Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

 

Publication Date

Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - 9:04am

Summary

Daniel A. Soisson, a senior majoring in chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, placed second out of nearly 200 entries at the 13th annual UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) Research Poster Symposium. His poster presentation, based on his own research, was an outgrowth of his senior Capstone project.