Being a nationally honored student researcher is not enough for William Marsiglia. The junior hopes to draw attention to his peers’ work by starting a science journal for Binghamton University undergraduate researchers.
The journal, which Marsiglia hopes to publish annually and online, would also provide undergraduates with the opportunity to do more science writing and to peer-review articles.
““Even if students’ papers aren’t published by a major journal, the research is still worth showing to others and saying, ‘This is what the students do here,’” he said.
Marsiglia is one of Binghamton University’s two winners of the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, which honors exceptional undergraduate researchers who intend to enter math, science or engineering fields. Marsiglia and senior Jared Schmitz were two of 275 students to receive the annual award.
“It’s a great scholarship that is very competitive,” Marsiglia said. “This is good for Binghamton in terms of showing what kinds of students we have.”
Marsiglia was encouraged to apply for the scholarship by Michael Miller, who was a Goldwater Scholar at Binghamton University in 2009-10 and worked with Marsiglia at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island.
“He sent me a message one day saying, ‘I think you’d have a really good shot at the Goldwater Scholarship,’” Marsiglia said. “I sent in the (application) and crossed my fingers.”
Since his freshman year, Marsiglia, from Holtsville, N.Y., has worked with Associate Professor of Chemistry Christof Grewer on the study of transport proteins in the brain. The lab’s work could someday help treat strokes and diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
High-level research at a young age is nothing new to Marsiglia. He won first place at the New York State Science and Engineering Fair as a high school student for a project that examined wound healing and regeneration rates in worms. The project later earned him a third-place award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Reno, Nev. Marsiglia also received a fellowship as a high school student for research at Brookhaven National Laboratory, where he studied how brain receptors are involved in inflammation response.
Marsiglia is a double major in biochemistry and music, and also plays trombone with the University Orchestra and the Low Brass Ensemble. He began playing the instrument in the fourth grade and has performed around the state as a member of the Nassau Suffolk Wind Ensemble and at Lincoln Center in New York City as a member of South Shore Brass.
“I couldn’t give up music,” he said of being a double major. “I love playing my instrument. I couldn’t take music out of my life. It’s too much fun.”
Pursuing his love of music while continuing his research and taking a variety of science classes is part of what Marsiglia calls a “holistic approach” to education.
“If you are going to do something, you might as well learn everything you can about it,” he said. “Ten years down the road, I don’t want to say, ‘I wish I had taken that extra class and done the major.’”
Marsiglia hopes to obtain a doctorate in organic chemistry and pass on his knowledge on the subject as a university professor.
“I’m happy I chose to come here,” he said. “The teachers are supportive, knowledgeable and easy to ask questions of. Different professors cover different areas of chemistry and it’s nice to see we have specialists who can give you a global perspective by taking their classes. There is such a variety of fields and professors in those fields.”