Posted May 1, 2024

A Fulbright and a PhD await this Temple grad

Fencer and undergraduate researcher Diana Tiburcio is looking forward to mentoring students in Peru, completing a Fulbright in Germany and pursuing her PhD at Stanford University. 

Photography By: 
Betsy Manning

Name: Diana Tiburcio 
Degree: Mechanical engineering major, chemistry minor 
College: College of Engineering 
Hometown: Malvern, Pa. 

Temple Made for: PhD program in chemical engineering at Stanford University  

But first: Tiburcio will complete a summer mentorship position with the GREEN program in Peru. Then, she will pursue a 10-month Fulbright in Germany at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion

Why Temple: When Tiburcio was planning out her college career as a high school student, she found guidance in an unexpected place: her fencing Coach Tasia Ford, who was making the move from coaching high school to coaching at Temple University. Tiburcio made the decision to follow in the footsteps of her coach (a Temple alum), and came to Temple as a student-athlete in STEM. 

Fencing family: Tiburcio is a sabre fencer on Temple’s Division I, nationally ranked fencing team; Ford has been a constant influence since high school. With this familiar face by her side, the transition to Temple’s team was seamless, and she found community right away. “Fencing gave me a built-in family right off the bat,” Tiburcio said. “My teammates have been so supportive. There’s just an incredible number of truly inspiring women that I’ve been able to go through my four years with here at Temple.” 
Best professor: “Ann Valentine, Chemistry Department chair, has been an incredible mentor throughout all four years at Temple,” Tiburcio said. Tiburcio entered college hating chemistry, but taking Valentine’s General Chemistry class completely changed her mind. After finding a passion for chemistry, Tiburcio came to love chemical engineering so much that she is focusing on it solely in her Fulbright and PhD programs.  

Passion for research: Upon arriving at Temple, Tiburcio fell in love with scientific research after becoming involved research-focused groups like MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers) and Engineers Without Borders. Through these student organizations, she found both camaraderie and purposeful projects to work on. She also participated in the GREEN program in Peru (accredited through Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola) to study water resource management and sustainability, with a focus on indigenous practices. Now, she is returning to help students in the program with their capstones as a mentor. 

Temple Made moment: Tiburcio was the first woman of color from Temple to receive the Goldwater Scholarship last year, a moment which she still reflects upon with pride. “In that moment of my life, a lot of things were still in the works. So being notified about the Goldwater at that time was a really validating moment,” she said. The Goldwater is a prestigious national STEM scholarship awarded to college sophomores and juniors who are active researchers, which Tiburcio most certainly still is.  

Quotable: “I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in research, and Temple really gave me those opportunities as an R1 institution. So, I’m really grateful for everything that Temple provided me: the fellowships, the advising and fencing.”