BUFFALO, N.Y. — Phillip Tucciarone, a University at
Buffalo chemical and biological engineering student, has won a
Marshall Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships
awarded annually to U.S. college students.
Tucciarone is the first UB student to win a Marshall Scholarship
since 1988 and is also a 2013 recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater
Up to 40 American students are awarded a Marshall Scholarship
The Marshall Scholarship will finance Tucciarone’s
graduate study at a university in the United Kingdom, where he
plans to study materials science. Marshall Scholars now
can be found among CEOs, Supreme Court justices, members of the
U.S. Congress, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and members of the
U.S. Presidential Cabinet.
“This feels incredible and is a wonderful surprise, to be
honest,” said Tucciarone, who will leave for London in
September. “The award secures an exciting academic future for
me over the next four years and makes a statement about the value
of public higher education.”
A senior, Tucciarone is from Washingtonville in Orange County,
N.Y., and is a graduate of Washingtonville High School.
The Marshall Scholarship is widely considered one of the most
prestigious scholarships in the world, and works to strengthen the
relationship between British and American citizens, and their
governments and institutions. The scholarship serves as a
“living gift” to the United States for its economic
assistance under the Marshall Plan after World War II, according to
the U.K.’s Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission, which
oversees the scholarships. Marshall Scholarships were founded
by a 1953 Act of Parliament and named in honor of U.S. Secretary of
State George C. Marshall.
“The Marshall Scholarship is a mark of great distinction
— these are not just some of the nation’s best and
brightest young scholars, they are intellectually passionate,
globally minded students dedicated to enriching the world around
them,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi. “This is
exactly the kind of student that UB excels in educating.
“Our vision of educational excellence comes to life in
students like Phil, who embrace opportunities to work alongside
faculty at the top of their fields and actively explore
opportunities to gain global experience.
“We’re all deeply proud to see one of our top
students earn this recognition, and we’re all eager to see
what Phil achieves next with this wonderful opportunity.”
Inspired by a desire to become a professor of materials science,
Tucciarone will use the Marshall Scholarship to pursue a doctorate
degree in materials science at either the University of Oxford or
the Imperial College of London. He plans to join the groundbreaking
research currently underway on graphene, one of the crystalline
forms of carbon.
Graphene is considered the material of the future, Tucciarone
said. It has the potential to make electronics much faster,
for example, and its most immediate use can be found in
transistors, radio frequency devices and computer chips.
“If copper is your grandma’s Buick, then graphene is
the new Ferrari,” he said.
Tucciarone has devoted much of his undergraduate research to
nanomaterials and the development of methods of non-toxic
bio-imaging, which play a role in cancer treatment. He has also
co-authored and published two academic papers on his research in
ACS Nano and Nano Letters, both monthly, peer-reviewed, scientific
journals published by the American Chemical Society.
“In my 20-plus years teaching at UB, I've never seen such
a display of leadership in one of my students,” says David
Kofke, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biological
Engineering. “It is heartening to see this in an engineering
student, where the workload promotes immersion in coursework
without allowing time to take in the larger picture in life, let
alone participate in it.”
A UB Honors College scholar, Tucciarone is president of the
Honors Student Council, and works with inner city public schools
through UB’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering
Partnership, funded by the National Science Foundation, which seeks
to improve science education in Buffalo Public Schools.
As a junior, he founded an annual volunteer service trip to the
Dominican Republic through the Honors Student Council, where he and
other UB students helped teach English to children.
Tucciarone said he was inspired to pursue a career in higher
education by his experiences at UB, combined with his volunteer
work in Buffalo Public Schools and the Dominican Republic.
“The faculty at UB is incredible,” said Tucciarone.
“I never felt disconnected from them and they engaged me from
day one in the classroom and as personal mentors.
“Education is the strongest mechanism for change in the
world,” he added. “I want to bridge the gap
between the United States and U.K. as a diplomat, gain experience,
and work as a bridge for bilateral research and higher
Education and science are just a few of Tucciarone’s many
passions. He is starting winger for UB’s rugby team, and
hopes to play for the Oxford Blues, the University of
Oxford’s rugby team, when he moves to England next fall.
A jazz enthusiast, Tucciarone played trombone and bass in a
swing band, and bass in a blues/rock band, Blank Check, in
The highly competitive Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and
Excellence in Education Program was founded in 1986 with the goal
of alleviating the critical shortage of highly qualified
scientists, mathematicians and engineers.