Growing up in rural Wisconsin, Joseph became interested in neuroscience early on through science fairs and books from his local library. Politics was a big part of his childhood too, and his family often watched the news together. At Penn, these two interests have combined into a dual major in Biological Basis of Behavior and Philosophy of Science in the College of Arts & Sciences. Joseph wants to attend law school after Penn and hopes to have an enduring positive impact on healthcare-related public policy. He wants to work in neurolaw, an emerging field that explores the effects of discoveries in neuroscience on legal rules and standards. He may eventually pursue a career in politics.
The College of Arts & Sciences is the heart of all the Penn programs. Spanning more than 50 majors and 2,000+ courses, the College offers a unique take on the classic liberal arts education.
Having discovered a love for policy-related research, Joseph has worked on a variety of projects in the Political Science Department under Dr. Michael C. Horowitz with funding from the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF). His primary project seeks to mathematically model the spread of military technology. Using open source information, Joseph has worked with a team to create a database of disruptive military technologies from the past 100 years that includes the capabilities of each system, and which countries have access to that system. Their findings painted a revealing picture of the global arms trade that suggests a more nuanced approach to foreign policy.
Joseph and his coworkers are also working to build a database that tracks the spread of the telegraph and how its use revolutionized international diplomacy. His third research project aims to track militant groups around the world to better understand how they interrelate and create alliances.
Penn is one of the nation's top research universities, not only generating important new knowledge in the fields of medicine, technology, business, science, and beyond, but applying this knowledge to improve the lives of individuals and communities at home and around the world.
Part of Joseph's Penn journey was his semester studying abroad in Singapore. After taking Chinese at Penn, Joseph enjoyed attending the National University of Singapore (NUS), experiencing a very different global culture. He used his time at NUS to travel to Hong Kong and Malaysia. He practiced his Chinese, took courses in philosophy, and learned new approaches to academics that he has carried through his time at Penn.
Joseph volunteers for local organizations where he can have a positive impact. He works with the Philadelphia chapter of Habitat for Humanity on building projects and with MARS (Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault) on projects that intend to prevent sexual violence.
Joseph also leads campus tours for prospective students and families as a member of the Kite and Key Society, Penn’s largest and oldest service organization. He says being a part of Kite and Key is an important part of giving back to the university he loves, and it gives him the opportunity to apply the public speaking skills he honed as a speech and debate coach in high school here at Penn.