2019 Tillman Scholar

Matthew Baroncelli

Marine Corps
Columbia University
B.A., East Asian Studies

“There is a unique power in communicating with a person in their native language.”

As a young man, Matthew was searching for a path that would challenge him both physically and mentally. He found that in the United States Marine Corps when he enlisted upon graduating high school. Throughout his service Matthew had multiples overseas deployments throughout the Asian-Pacific Region working with Australian, South Korean, Japanese, Thai, Singaporean and Chinese soldiers. Multilateral operations with foreign allies forced him to overcome extensive language barriers and cultural differences. These unique experiences showed Matthew the power of communicating in another’s native language.

After receiving an honorable discharge, Matthew began his next path pursuing his internationally focused and philanthropic passions. He immediately got involved in the non-profit sector assisting veterans with combat and service-related trauma. He continues to diversify his educational experience as a Warrior-Scholar Project alumnus at Yale University, a Veterans in Global Leadership fellow at Georgetown University, and a research assistant in Formosa, Argentina where he studied Owl Monkeys with Proyecto Mirikiná.

Yearning to reach his ultimate goal of working closely with foreign nations again, he began his education at Columbia University. Currently, he is completing his bachelor’s degree majoring in East-Asian Studies and Mandarin Chinese. To compliment his learning, he trains at Peking University in Beijing, China over the summers. Upon completing his degree, he plans to continue his service to our nation at the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer being fluent in Mandarin Chinese.