Macaluso receives Gates Cambridge Scholarship – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Macaluso receives Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Max Macaluso '06 has been named the recipient of a prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship after a competition at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. This award will support his graduate work in chemistry at the Unilever Centre of Molecular Science Informatics at Cambridge University next fall. While pursuing his doctorate, he will be a member of Darwin College.

A graduate of Palmyra-Macedon High School and the son of Nicholas and Grace Macaluso of Canandaigua, he is majoring in chemistry and minoring in environmental studies. He has been named a Hobart Dean's Scholar, elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and received a 2004 summer research fellowship to continue his work with Professor Carol Parish in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann at Cornell University. The following year he received the 2005 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the 2005 German Academic Exchange Service's Research Internships in Science and Engineering Fellowship funding his 2005 summer research in the laboratory of Professor Peter Schreiner at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany; and the Thomas J. Bardos Award from the American Association for Cancer Research to fund attendance at scientific research conferences.

President Mark D. Gearan said, “I am delighted that Max Macaluso’s outstanding work as a student has been recognized with this prestigious scholarship. His excellence in the classroom combines with his character and integrity to merit his selection as a Gates Scholar.”

Macaluso’s research, mentored by Professor Carol Parish of the chemistry faculty (now at the University of Richmond) has focused on computational studies of anti-cancer warhead drugs along with the investigation of unusually aromatic hydrocarbon bowls. Max has presented his results at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society and at the annual MERCURY meeting. He has co-authored a publication on this work with Parish, Hoffmann and Lawrence Scott (Boston College) in the Journal of Organic Chemistry.

“Max is an extraordinarily gifted and disciplined young man who has a mission in life; namely to ensure that he can apply his knowledge and passion for science to the prevention and cure of cancer,” said Parish. “He is exceptionally focused and intellectually engaged, and this makes working with Max seem more like working with an experienced colleague than with an undergraduate student.”

About 40 Gates-Cambridge Scholarships were awarded to students from the United States this year. Among these 40 were 18 student finalists competing for eight scholarships in the physical science division from universities including Harvard, CalTech, University of California at Berkley, and Max.

“Having Max compete among students from such prestigious universities and ultimately win the scholarship speaks volumes about his talent, personal drive, and educational experiences here at Hobart and William Smith,” said David Craig, professor of chemistry.

The scholarship was established in October 2000 through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with a donation of $210 million to the University of Cambridge. Scholarships are awarded to students who apply for admission to Cambridge University by the traditional route, only when students are recommended by their Cambridge department.

Macaluso has been committed to his studies in chemistry and biochemistry conducting research with Parish at Hobart and William Smith, and to the communication of science to a broad audience. He competed for the Holland prize in physics with a presentation called “Physics Sucks” that explored the physics of a kiss. He also wrote an article for a November 2004 issue of the Herald, the Colleges newspaper, “REU Kidding” that described his summer research activities at Cornell University.

He received the Phi Phi Delta Scholarship for the 2004-05 year.

“I think gaining a liberal arts education has added a creative element to my educational experience that I would not have received at another institution,” Macaluso said.

“Throughout the Gates interview, the committee members probed my leadership activities throughout the campus and the chemistry department, and they were most interested in the creative dimension of my activities.”

Macaluso has been an active volunteer at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Canandaigua, and has been house manager for the Hobart Honors and Leadership House (Bampton House) for the past two years. He is in the process of organizing a fund-raising activity for a cancer institute with the residents of Bampton House.

In addition to campus activities, the Gates committee was searching for students with a strong background in scientific research. Macaluso credits his mentor, Parish, and the opportunities within the Colleges’ chemistry department for providing him with these experiences. He says, “In the past few years, I’ve been able to work at a level that few undergraduates are able to engage in. I have published a paper with Carol Parish and Roald Hoffmann, presented at national conferences, and studied in a foreign laboratory.

“Not only have I enjoyed working with Carol, but her passion for research has inspired me to pursue theoretical and computational chemistry at the graduate level. Her mentorship and friendship have been more valuable to me than words can express.”

The award covers the full Cambridge University and College tuition and fees, a maintenance allowance and a further discretionary allowance for study-related activities, and airfare.

The Finger Lakes Times of Geneva printed a story about Macaluso and the scholarship in the Feb. 26 edition. Read Pal-Mac grad wins Gates Cambridge Scholarship.