UConn Junior Named 2017 Goldwater Scholar

Tyler Daddio '18 (CLAS, ENG) is one of four students UConn nominated for the honor. Two others earned honorable mentions in this year's competition.

Tyler Daddio '18 (ENG,CLAS) at the Wilbur Cross South Reading Room on April 11, 2017. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Tyler Daddio '18 (CLAS, ENG) is one of four students UConn nominated for the honor. Two others earned honorable mentions in this year's competition. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Tyler Daddio ’18 (ENG, CLAS) from Beacon Falls, Conn., has been named a 2017 Goldwater Scholar.

Daddio is a STEM scholar pursuing a BS in mathematics and dual BSE/MS degrees in computer science and engineering. He plans to earn a Ph.D. in computer science after he graduates from UConn next academic year.

The Goldwater Scholarship is considered the nation’s premier scholarship for undergraduates studying math, natural sciences, and engineering. It was established by Congress to honor the late U.S. Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, with the purpose of identifying students of outstanding ability and promise, and encouraging them to pursue advanced study and research careers. Scholars receive one- or two-year awards that cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Four is the maximum number that can be nominated by any school.

Daddio first began working with computer science and engineering professor Ion Mandoiu in the final months of his senior year of high school, during which he helped write code to connect various bioinformatics tools to a graphical web interface.

Ever since, his research has primarily focused on computational methods for improving cancer vaccine design, notably through the characterization of the T cell receptor.

He has since expanded the scope of this project with the aim of creating a three-stage bioinformatics pipeline to aid in the design of personalized cancer vaccines. He was recently selected as a 2017 University Scholar, and plans to complete the development of this pipeline before his graduation.

He also received an IDEA grant to continue producing educational computer science videos on his YouTube channel, CoderTheTyler. He enjoys teaching others and, in his first two years at UConn, has served as an undergraduate teaching assistant both for undergraduate and graduate computer science courses. In addition, he serves as a Peer Research Ambassador, in hopes of inspiring other undergraduates to get involved in research.

Daddio is the treasurer for both the UConn Student Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery and the Street Performers Club (of which he is a co-founder and head unicycle enthusiast). He is also serving as the student organizer for the UConn Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Competition team. When he can find time to procrastinate, he does so by working on any one of his numerous yet somewhat secretive side projects.

Two other UConn students earned honorable mentions in the Goldwater Scholar competition:

Vincent Pistritto ’18 (CLAS, SFA) is an honors student from Woodbury, Conn. pursuing a dual degree in chemistry and music. Upon graduation, he intends to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry, with the ultimate goal of working to develop efficient, robust, and environmentally friendly routes to active pharmaceutical ingredients.

As an undergraduate, he has worked in the laboratory of chemistry professor Nicholas Leadbeater, looking to perform oxidative functionalization in a manner that is safer for the environment. In particular, his research looks to expand the reaction profile of an environmentally friendly oxidant commonly known as Bobbitt’s Salt.

Nick Russo ’18 (CLAS) is an honors student and STEM scholar majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in ecology, with a focus on ornithology and forest community ecology.

Since his freshman year, he has been working in the lab of ecology and evolutionary biology professor Morgan Tingley, conducting research on the potential for birds to disperse hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect that devastates eastern hemlock forests.