Stony Brook Matters

Deanna Downs and Brooke Peritore — the URECA Undergraduate Researchers of the Month for March 2021 — are both seniors engaged in research in the Department of Geosciences under the mentorship of Associate Professor Troy Rasbury. Their exposure to isotope and mass spectrometry research and analysis in Dr. Rasbury’s group resulted from their participation in the NSF-funded GeoPATH-IMPACT Summer Research program while they were students at Suffolk County Community College.

URECA geology majors Deanna Downs (standing) and Brooke Peritore running samples with a mass spectrometer in the Rasbury lab in ESS.
URECA geology majors Deanna Downs (standing) and Brooke Peritore running samples with a mass spectrometer in the Rasbury lab in ESS.

Downs arrived at Stony Brook in Fall 2019 after completing an associate’s degree at Suffolk County Community College and participated in the NSF-GeoPATH IMPACT research exposure program in both Summers 2018 and 2019. Her ongoing research (virtual) with Professor Rasbury in summer 2020 was supported by a Blum-URECA fellowship award. Downs has served as secretary of the Geology Club for the past year and will be presenting her work at the upcoming URECA symposium in May. In Spring 2019, Downs worked with a local historian to map graves within the Baiting Hollow cemetery using QGIS, analyzing GPR data to look for unmarked graves. Downs plans to seek employment within the environmental geology or hydrology field and to defer graduate studies for a few years.

Peritore is pursuing dual majors in geology and earth and space sciences. She transferred from Suffolk County Community College to Stony Brook in Fall 2019 after participating in the GeoPATH-IMPACT program. Her research in Summer 2020 (virtual) was supported by a URECA summer award. Peritore is a member of the Geology Club and the National Society of Leadership and Success. She presented a paper on “Isotopic Evidence in Rainwater for Boron Concentration in Long Island Groundwaters” at the 2020 Long Island Geology Conference and also at the Young Investigators Fall Symposium. Peritore has been employed part-time as an intern for the New York State Department of Environmental Remediation since August and intends to pursue a master’s degree in geology at Stony Brook; long term, she aspires to a career that combines her interests in environmental remediation and environmental education. 

Read the interview with URECA Director Karen Kernan 

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