Tomasz Macura loves a challenge.
At sixteen, Macura is putting the finishing touches on two Honors Theses for B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science. He will continue studies towards a Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Cambridge’s (UK) Trinity College — considered the most prestigious of the 37 Cambridge colleges. Cambridge has more Nobel Prize winning alumni, 70, than any other university in the world. He will be the school’s youngest and he will be its youngest Ph.D. student since World War I.
Age aside, Macura stands out as one of the nation’s most promising scholars in the areas of math and science. He was one of sixteen winners of the Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship, which pays tuition, fees, and a $29,000 stipend per year for four years. Because of its selectivity, the Fellowship is considered the most prestigious Science and Engineering graduate award in the U.S. All together, Macura – who only ten years ago didn’t speak a word of English – has been offered more than $800,000 in academic awards from some of the most prestigious foundations and institutions in the U.S. and beyond.
He credits his parents, both M.D./Ph.D.s, for instilling in him love and respect for knowledge. “A major part of my academic success is due to UMBC faculty. I was lucky to do research with Professors Matthias Gobbert and Jacob Kogan. They are brilliant professors who are very busy with their own research but make the time to focus on mentoring.”
“Tomasz is young, bright, highly motivated, and already an independent researcher. I am confident that Tomasz will become a leading authority in his research field,” said Kogan.
Macura is establishing a legacy at UMBC. His 13-year-old brother, Wiktor, is a sophomore here with a 4.0 GPA and a full merit scholarship. “Wiktor is my brother and my best friend.” Wiktor is also his partner, as the brothers have formed a foundation to give back to the community.
The Macura Brothers Foundation was established by the Macuras to help gifted children from Poland (their homeland) and other Eastern-European countries. “We are very fortunate and grateful for the opportunities presented to us in America and are doing our best to give back.” The Foundation donated over $5,000 of educational materials to the Hungarian Student Research Society and the Polish Library in Washington D.C. Now the Brothers are working on establishing “The One” Scholarship for immigrant prodigies studying in the United States.
“Tomasz is exceptionally bright,” said UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski III. “But he’s a very hard worker, very inquisitive, and has a great sense of humor. I am impressed not only by Tomasz’s achievements in the classroom and lab, but also by his sincere interest in others. He is a wonderful role model for other academically talented young people.”
Macura is sure of one thing, “No matter what I will do after my Ph.D. degree, I will always cherish the time I spent at UMBC – my Alma Mater. This is the place I grew up intellectually and personally.”