Senior Joshua Alcantar pursues neuroscience at prestigious Johns Hopkins University


Sierra Ruiz

Joshua Alcantar studies hard while in his fourth period office assistance program.

Four years ago, senior Joshua Alcantar did not see himself going down the college path, unsure of what his future held. It all turned around when he took Michael Chiarella’s AP Chemistry class. From that point on, Alcantar had his heart set on pursuing a career that involved chemistry. 

Alcantar was accepted into the prestigious Johns Hopkins University and will be attending next school year, where he will be able to experiment and explore his passions further among some of the nation’s brightest minds.Alcantar admits that he was excited when he got in and was even submitted, thinking he would not be admitted. 

“I will be majoring in neuroscience. The goal is to go to medical school; I have a strong fascination and interest in chemistry in the human body,” Alcantar said. 

Despite his drive and strong interest in neuroscience, Alcantar did not believe he would get in, yet the supporting friends and teachers around him pushed him to pursue the college path no matter the outcome of his applications. 

“I didn’t know that I would choose neuroscience, I didn’t see myself going to college until I took AP chemistry my junior year and started learning about neuroscience on my own from textbooks,” Alcantar said.

He always follows through, so I know he will do well.

— Juan Flores

During AP Chemistry, Chiarella would give extra work to Alcantar to keep him motivated and busy pursuing his career. “Mr. Chiarella was always helpful and supportive,” Alcantar said.

Chiarella shared why he may have been a driving factor in Alcantar’s love for STEM related topics in the classroom. 

“As a student in AP chemistry, I gave him enough interesting assignments to keep him motivated in the classroom,” Chiarella said. “And anything he needed; Additional lab work, coursework, or support in general.”

Chiarella thinks highly of Alcantar and his academic drive, “He was self-motivated to do work and enjoyed helping others as well, he was always interested in the subject and trying to figure things out in class,” Chiarella said. “He’s a student, always asking questions and getting as much out of the class as possible. I expect great success for Josh in his college and professional career.”

Along with Chiarella being one of Alcantar’s supporters, a senior and close friend of Alcantar’s, Juan Flores, recalled his feelings about Alcantar’s career and acceptance in an interview. 

“I was happy for him [his acceptance], he was hoping to get in,” Flores said. “He’s very hardworking and even though he puts a lot on his plate sometimes. He always follows through, so I know he will do well.”