Southeast Missouri State University
For more information, contact:
Ann K. Hayes (573) 651-2552




CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 12, 2002 - Scott Lucchese of Poplar Bluff, Mo., a senior chemistry major at Southeast Missouri State University, has been awarded an $8,000 Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship for graduate study as he continues his education in medical school during the 2002-2003 academic year.

Lucchese, who has aspirations of becoming an oncologist, has been accepted into the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine for fall 2002. He plans to graduate from Southeast May 11 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry.

Lucchese was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi honor society at Southeast last April. Phi Kappa Phi is one of the oldest national honor societies in the nation, and is open to men and women of all disciplines. The chapter charter is extended only to schools meeting rigorous membership standards. At present, there are only 282 chapters of Phi Kappa Phi located.

From its humble beginnings in 1929, the Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship Program has become one of the largest and most respected scholarship programs in the country, allocating more than $460,000 annually to outstanding students for first-year graduate study.

Each year, Phi Kappa Phi offers just 52 Fellowships of $8,000 each. Every Phi Kappa Phi chapter has the opportunity to submit one nominee, and each person nominated receives an Active-For-Life membership in the Society. Since the Fellowship Program's inception, more than 2,000 students have benefited.

Southeast chartered its Phi Kappa Phi chapter in 1992. In just a decade, Southeast has now had two students who have been awarded the Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship and one who has received an award of excellence.

The multidisciplinary nature of Phi Kappa Phi is reflected in its Fellowship and Award of Excellence recipients. Awardees represent a variety of fields including biology, chemistry, engineering, political science, mathematics and psychology. Likewise, the professions they select are equally diverse: law, medicine, business, education, science, or the arts.

Lucchese is a member of the University's Chemistry Club; Alpha Sigma Lambda Non-traditional Student Honor Society, Beta Mu Chapter; and the Fungal Biology Working Group. At Southeast, he has been involved in research in one of Southeast's organic chemistry labs and is a member of a small molecular biology research group.

He has received the Outstanding Achievement in Mathematics Award, the ACS Polymer Education Committee Award for Outstanding Performance in Organic Chemistry, the M. and A. Evens Chemistry Scholarship and the College of Science and Mathematics Honor Student Award. He has given presentations at the Southeast Student Research Conference and the Genetics and Cell Biology of Basidiomycyetes V Conference. He also has received a Funding for Results Biology Undergraduate Research Grant and is the co-author of 177 Schizophyllum commune, a wood decaying fungus, DNA sequences in the NCBI Genbank database.

Lucchese transferred to Southeast from Southwest Illinois College at Belleville, Ill. He also has attended Park College in Parkville, Mo., and Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff.

Lucchese received the Outstanding Achievement in Mathematics Award for 1998 and the Fairview Heights Optimist Club Scholarship in 1999, both from Belleville Area College, now Southwest Illinois College.

Lucchese served 14 years as a member of the U.S. Air Force, prior to him pursuing a college education. During his years of service, he served as an aircraft mechanic on aircraft used for medical evacuation, was an inspector of aircraft chartered to transport military personnel, served as an instructor responsible for teaching new personnel how to repair C-9A aircraft and was a shift chief. He was a liaison to the Scott Air Force Base Aeroclub and was a volunteer at the Scott Air Force Base Medical Center, working in clinics and wards as needed.

Shortly after Lucchese entered the Air Force and was stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, he was involved in a motorcycle accident. After three months in a hospital, he was transferred to the medical center at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. There, he volunteered to help on the ward where he lived and later assisted in the orthopedic clinic.

"This experience provided the initial spark that grew into my consuming desire to practice medicine," Lucchese said. "The doctors for whom I worked displayed a sense of competency and uncompromising dedication that left me in awe. I wanted to be like them.

"Being a physician is probably the most satisfying life possible," he said. "To ease suffering, to make well those who are ill, to repair broken bones or damaged organs - can anything else possibly be as satisfying? The job satisfaction facet of medical practice appeals to me greatly, but so does another important aspect - community service."

Lucchese says that a life of service is the highest possible calling.

"My desire to offer my life in service to others and the satisfying nature of the discipline are the two primary motivations for my desire to study medicine," he said.


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