Curley valedictorian looks to outer space

By Erik Zygmont

Twitter: @ReviewErik
A photographer’s frenetic attempts to coax an expression of joy out of Matthew Borowy yielded only slight up-turns at the ends of his mouth.

“You just love to be the center of attention, don’t you Matt?” joked Michael DeMarco, head of the science department at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore, from where Borowy was soon to graduate. “Yeah, not really.”

Still waters run deep, they say. Coming off a school year packed with Advanced Placement courses and finishing with marks high enough to make him valedictorian, Borowy most likely had too much on his mind to give 100 percent for a magazine photo.

He will attend the Universty of Maryland, College Park, where he plans to study aerospace engineering on a “space track.”

“I didn’t know I wanted to do that until this year,” Borowy said. “I was thinking of the things I like, and that was what interested me the most.”

He’s been following SpaceX – a private spacecraft and rocket company launched in 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk, who also co-founded PayPal and Tesla Motors – especially its push to develop reusable rockets.

“It’s pretty cool,” Borowy said.

He’s always been interested in automobiles and other fast objects, “but with space,” he said, “there’s more to figure out, more to accomplish.”

Not that he limits his explorations to that arena. As a participant in Archbishop Curley’s prestigious Franciscan Scholars Program, he had an internship at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he assisted graduate student Lucas Horn, a member of the Curley class of 2006.

“I did perform surgery on a mouse,” Borowy recalled. “It wasn’t that hard, actually, to be honest. My mentor needed white blood cells, so I extracted the spleen.”

Outside of the sciences, Borowy enjoys literature, particularly British literature, including the plays of William Shakespeare.

“I like how his work is very complex, and it’s hard to understand, but once you understand it, it’s good,” he said, crediting much of his comprehension to his teacher, Alex Stathes.

“(Borowy) strikes me as a student and as a learner who is interested in finding the root cause, the root significance, the fundamental function of what he is studying, whether it be science or the humanities,” Stathes said in an email. “It seems to me that at the root of both science and literature, Matt has found something that he believes is important.”

Stathes said that he hopes Borowy will “foster and maintain that curiosity which often led him to deeper understanding and appreciation of literature and ideas.”

In graduating from the all-boys school served by the Conventual Franciscan Friars, Borowy followed in the footsteps of his father, who is a member of the Class of 1983, and uncles.

Read more education stories here.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.