Whether as student, leader, researcher or volunteer, every opportunity that Biology major Johnny Joseph ’14 took advantage of over his four years at Stonehill seemed to open a new door. And, when he recently applied the sum of those experiences to his quest for admission into dental school, it opened 10 doors at once.
Joseph was admitted to all 10 dental schools to which he applied. Many offered generous scholarships, but none more so than the University of Connecticut, which offered him a full, four-year scholarship.
“What’s unusual here is that not only did Johnny get interviews at all 10 schools he applied to, but that he was accepted to all of them on Dec. 2, the first day that dental schools are able to offer acceptances to applicants,” says Craig Almeida, dean of academic achievement and Johnny’s health professions advisor. “Later that week, UConn offered him a full tuition scholarship … I’ve never heard of that before. Clearly they see his potential.”
That’s no surprise when you consider what Johnny has accomplished as an undergraduate. His activities included being president of the Pre-Dental Club, an ALANA-A Brothers and Sisters leader and a regular volunteer in the local community. He was also a Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) leader and a research assistant for three years with Biology Professor Heather Bleakley, using inbred and wild lines of guppies to examine the evolutionary genetics of social behavior.
“It was my taking advantage of the research and internship opportunities offered by Stonehill that made me a unique and outstanding applicant,” says Johnny, who grew up in the French-speaking Democratic Republic of Congo and now calls Maine home.
Adds Almeida: “Johnny is a perfect example of what happens at Stonehill. If you’re interested in something, committed, willing to work hard, willing to take advantage of a wide-range of opportunities presented to you, there’s no reason why you can’t succeed.”
Johnny says he came to Stonehill because he was looking for a close-knit community and a strong science program. He says the supportive community he found here was particularly crucial to his success. Moving 10 years ago to northern New England from Africa was a bit of a culture shock and big adjustment. “One of the challenges was finding that group of friends I could connect with. The one thing that made it easier (at Stonehill) was getting involved. I joined many different groups where I met people that shared the same values as I do.”
Johnny will start at the School of Dental Medicine at UConn in June, a month after graduating from Stonehill. His long-term plan reflects both his personal experiences and the values central to Stonehill’s mission: he eventually plans to open his own dental practice in an underserved area.
He has dreamed of becoming a dentist since he was a boy and the decision was affirmed during an internship at North Easton Dental Associates his junior year, where he valued more than just the technical experience. “It was seeing the interactions the dentists had with their patients … that solidified my decision. I loved that feeling of changing people’s lives, one smile at a time.”