Published November 18, 2013
UB student Phillip Tucciarone, a senior chemical and biological engineering major, is a finalist for the prestigious Marshall Scholarship.
A recipient of the 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, Tucciarone is UB’s first finalist for the Marshall Scholarship since 2008.
Each year, the award finances graduate study for 40 American scholars at a university in the United Kingdom in any field of study. If selected, Tucciarone would use the scholarship to obtain his doctorate in materials science at either the University of Oxford or Imperial College of London.
Tucciarone interviewed with the scholarship committee in New York on Nov. 16; he will hear final results this week.
If selected to receive a Marshall Scholarship, he would join the transcending research currently underway on graphene, one of the crystalline forms of carbon. Fueled by his desire to become a professor of materials science, Tucciarone has devoted much of his undergraduate research to nanomaterials and the development of methods of nontoxic bio-imaging, which play a role in cancer treatment.
Tucciarone’s studies have earned several awards, including the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Award of Distinction. He also has co-authored and published two papers on his studies in ACS Nano and Nano Letters, both monthly, peer-reviewed, scientific journals published by the American Chemical Society.
“I see education as the strongest mechanism for change in the world,” says Tucciarone. “I want to bridge the gap between the United States and UK as a diplomat, gain experience and work as a bridge for bilateral research and higher education.”
Tucciarone’s passion for education drives him both in and outside the classroom. An Honors College scholar, he maintains a nearly flawless grade-point average while playing as the starting wing for UB’s club rugby team.
He is also president of the Honors Student Council and works with inner city public schools through the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership, a program that seeks to improve science education in the Buffalo Public Schools.
During a community service program in the Dominican Republic, Tucciarone volunteered to help teach English to the local youth. The experience opened his eyes to the inequalities in education and inspired him to organize an annual volunteer service trip to the country through the Honors Student Council.
“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 in the Department 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.”
Founded in 1953 in honor of U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall, the Marshall Scholarship works to strengthen the relationship between the British and American citizens, and their governments and institutions.