New Powell scholar brings a world of experience to Pacific
Lorenzo Spaccarelli ’24 has already packed a lot of learning into his 17 years. He has explored interests in robots, theater, history, environmental causes, computer science and world events. He’s bringing all of that curiosity to University of the Pacific as one of five Powell Scholars in this year’s cohort.
“He is an amazing person who has already accomplished so much,” said Powell Scholar Alyssa Hershey, who interviewed Spaccarelli when he applied for the scholarship. “What stood out the most to us during his interview was his passion for his past, present and future projects and goals.”
The Powell Scholars Program awards Pacific’s premiere scholarship and gives students opportunities to develop their leadership potential and to serve their communities.
Spaccarelli had already been considering college in California and loved the beauty of the Stockton Campus when he visited. But it was the opportunities offered by the Powell Scholars Program that helped him make up his mind to enroll at Pacific.
“The stars just aligned and it was like, ‘Yeah, just this just sounds like the perfect school for me,” he said.
Spaccarelli was home-schooled in Portland, Oregon, and also attended community college while in high school. He is a member of MENSA and a winner of the Grand Award for The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth after completing four years in its famed Study of Exceptional Talent program. But perhaps his biggest educational experience came when he was 11 and his parents, who own a coffee distributorship, made a decision that altered his life.
“My parents decided to take me and my brother traveling for a year, and we traveled across the globe,” Spaccarelli said.
The family visited 26 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe and chronicled their adventures on a blog called Taking the Big Break. In addition, the family volunteered for nonprofit organizations. For Spaccarelli , one of the most memorable was a nature park in Thailand for elephants that have been rescued from illegal hunting or injured by land mines.
“We stayed there and volunteered for a week caring for the elephants, whatever that meant—scooping poop, bathing the elephants or helping feed the elephants,” Spaccarelli said.
During their visit to Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the family stayed at an environmentally sustainable hotel, encountered stingrays and watched sea turtles hatch. That experience sparked Spaccarelli’s interest in climate change and the intersections between economic and climate-based policy and renewable power.
“My worldview sort of changed slowly over the course of the whole trip,” Spaccarelli said. “There's a lot of diversity on the planet, but there's also a lot of similarities and understanding other cultures and other people became a fascination for me and this is part of why I decided to major in history.”
Spaccarelli looks forward to moving to the Stockton Campus once restrictions are lifted so he can meet the other Powell Scholars and perhaps choose a second major. When he toured campus last February, there was one other thing that attracted his attention and he is eager to get back to it.
“This is a minor thing, but I'm a swimmer, and I am so excited to hop in your gorgeous pool,” he said. “[Pacific has] the most beautiful outdoor pool. And here in Oregon, there's not a lot of outdoor swimming going on.”