STEM Scholarship Spotlight: James Gallicchio

Hometown: Sewell, NJ
Major: Computer Science
University: Carnegie Mellon University

Our STEM scholarship Winner, James Gallicchio, spent the early years of his life cultivating and developing his passion for the STEM industry by reading fantasy novels, watching educational math videos and flipping through science magazines like Popular Science and Make: Magazine. James was awed by the researchers, engineers and STEM professionals he saw and read about in those magazines. They were building the future we have now, from autonomous robots, to self-driving cars, to artificial intelligence.  James wanted to be part of the future building business.

That vague desire became the basis of James’ academic studies. He was ranked 2nd in his graduating class at Washington Township High School, a National Merit Finalist, a U.S. Presidential Scholar Candidate, and had a near perfect score on the SAT. However, his extracurricular activities really showed his commitment to STEM.

James founded and was the lead programmer for the Vex Robotics Team at his high school and was an Executive Board member of the Science National Honor Society. Outside of school, James wrote his own Discord Chat Bot and built a Raspberry Pi cluster in his spare time. Somehow, even with all this going on, James found time to be part of a research team studying underwater acoustic communications at Rutgers University. His research paper, “Adaptive Feedback Protocol for Underwater Vehicles via Software-Defined Acoustic Modems,” was published and presented at IEEE MIT Undergraduate Research Technology Conference.

When discussing the impact of his STEM scholarship, James had this to say:

“I want to leave an impact, and STEM fields are a great way to do that because it is such a constantly evolving field. So as long as you stay on top of your field and you are always at the forefront, you can be one of those people pushing your field ahead. That’s part of the reason I wanted to go into research. The people who are advancing these fields are researchers, they are people who are at universities teaching. I want to be at the forefront pushing a field, because that excites me.”

James now heads into Carnegie Mellon University where he will be a computer science major.

“The legacy I want to leave behind is one of mentorship and teaching and help other people to purse this passion in computer science.”