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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Helping Flyers Fly

The inclusive, tight-knit community feeling he experienced while walking around the University of Dayton campus impressed Juliano Aquilino ’23 — but what really catapulted UD to his top college choice was a tour of the chemistry department’s laboratory.

Aquilino flashes an embarrassed smile when he admits UD was originally his back-up plan. “I had my mind set on a different school, but on the tour of UD I was so impressed by the lab and the research opportunities,” said Aquilino.

And while the prospect of attending UD and utilizing the top-notch research facilities was one that excited Aquilino, he acknowledges that UD may have been out of reach if not for the financial assistance he’s received.

He’s not alone — 98% of first-year students receive some sort of financial aid to offset the cost of attendance.

In Aquilino’s case, some of that financial assistance has come in the form of donor-funded scholarships. But scholarships didn’t simply help get Aquilino to UD, they’ve helped him stay for four years and have the full college experience. “The donor-funded scholarships and financial aid I’ve received have been a blessing. This is the first year I didn’t have to take out student loans — which was amazing,” said Aquilino.

Aquilino has made the most of his time at UD — getting involved in activities like Christmas on Campus and Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-professional health honor society — and, of course, logging hundreds of hours in the lab doing mentored research alongside faculty and presenting that research each year at UD’s Stander Symposium.

He credits Doug Daniels, a research professor of chemistry, for encouraging his desire to do research and getting him involved early in his first semester at UD. “I was still trying to figure out how to separate my whites and darks, and at the same time was getting experience in infectious disease research,” said Aquilino.

Thanks to his strong academic record and his passion for research, Aquilino has been awarded numerous scholarships, including the Carl I. Michaelis, Ph.D., Memorial Scholarship; the Daniel M. Romer, M.D., Endowed Scholarship and the William Dennis Scott Endowed Scholarship.

And donor contributions to the College of Arts and Science Dean’s Fund for Excellence supported two summers of research for Aquilino via a summer fellowship program. The Dean’s Summer Fellowship program provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to conduct summer research in any academic discipline under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Students receive a stipend as part of this fellowship.

Aquilino, who plans to continue his education and pursue a doctorate in microbiology and immunology is especially grateful he won’t be leaving UD with a huge student loan balance. “I’ve been able to attend a great school without accumulating a crazy amount of debt,” said Aquilino.

He is grateful UD has set him up for future success and for the donors for giving him a financial lift when it was most needed. “The impact of donor scholarships is incredible, specifically for students going through hard times. My family would love to help me with school, but they can’t,” said Aquilino.

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