Auburn engineers nominated for national prestigious scholarships

Published: Nov 3, 2016 1:00:00 PM
Media Contact: Chris Anthony,, 334.844.3447

From left: James Smith and Josh Passantino.
From left: James Smith and Josh Passantino.

Auburn Engineering students Josh Passantino and James Smith have been selected as two of Auburn University’s nominees for the prestigious Rhodes and Marshall scholarships, two of the nation's top postgraduate awards.

The Rhodes Scholarship gives 32 of the most outstanding young scholars in the country an opportunity to study at the University of Oxford in England, while the Marshall Scholarship allows up to 40 of the nation’s top undergraduates to study at any university in the United Kingdom.

“These students evoke the core values of Auburn University,” said Melissa Baumann, assistant provost for undergraduate studies and director of the Honors College. “They have succeeded through hard work in their courses and extracurricular activities and they are men and women of character. These scholarships are some of the most prestigious international awards, and we are pleased to nominate them.”

Passantino, of Morris, is an Honors College senior with majors in chemical engineering, biosystems engineering and Spanish. A member of the Honors Congress, Passantino was the recipient of the Student Government Association Undergraduate Student Engineering Award in the spring of 2016; was selected as the Biosystems Undergraduate Student of the Year for 2015-16; was a summer 2015 research fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Design; and is a past president of the Auburn chapter of Engineers Without Borders. Passantino's faculty mentor is Virginia Davis in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Smith, a Huntsville native, is an Honors College senior majoring in electrical and computer engineering, with minors in computer science and political science. Smith was awarded a competitive Undergraduate Research Fellowship; served as a summer research intern at the Naval Research Laboratories; serves as a member of the Auburn Triathlon Club; and is co-founder and past president of Auburn for Water, a student-run organization which raises awareness and funds for small, family well projects in Southeast Asia. Smith's faculty mentor is Michael Baginski in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.