Beale to present research at prestigious Capitol Hill conference

Published 10:45 am Thursday, April 28, 2022

Longwood chemistry major Kaleigh Beale ’22 has been selected to participate in Posters on the Hill — one of the most prestigious research showcases in the country.

Through her senior thesis project, Beale set out to investigate the fluoride content in her hometown’s water supply and propose possible solutions that will help residents of Isle of Wight County mitigate high levels in their drinking water. This spring she investigated cost-effective fluoride removal methods and that research will be part of the abstract she presents at Posters on the Hill, taking place April 26-27.

Beale was one of just 60 undergraduate researchers from across the country who was selected for the showcase, which will be held virtually again this year.

“I am extremely honored to have been chosen to present at the Posters on the Hill conference,” Beale said. “My main goal throughout this project has been to aid members of a community that has given me and my family so much, and I am overwhelmed with joy at the chance to make a difference.”

Beale hopes to ultimately produce a brochure or informational product to be distributed to members of the Isle of Wight community that explains ways they can detect and remove fluoride from their drinking water.

Posters on the Hill is hosted annually by the Council on Undergraduate Research, which supports and promotes high-level mentored undergraduate research, scholarship and creative inquiry. Typically, posters are presented on Capitol Hill and researchers present their findings to congressional lawmakers, staffers and the general public there.

Beale said she is thankful for the support she has received from Longwood faculty members throughout her four years, and especially credited Dr. Sarah Porter, professor of analytical chemistry, who served as her thesis project research adviser.

“I am so proud of Kaleigh because her project really exemplifies Longwood’s mission to educate citizen leaders,” Porter said. “She conceived of her senior thesis project from square one based on a problem that she saw in her local community. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to speak to our congressional leaders about an issue that affects not only Kaleigh’s community here in Virginia but the global community as well.”

Beale, who is minoring in biology, is a member of the Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars and also part of Longwood’s LIFE STEM program. After graduating next month she plans to complete training and work as an EMT for a year while applying to medical schools. Her ultimate career goal is to become a pediatric emergency medicine physician.

Read more about Beale’s project and watch her Posters on the Hill video.