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Great Grads - Joseph Nelson

BS, Biomedical Education

Raised by a teenage single mother, Joseph Nelson understood the need to work hard in order to pursue the biggest of dreams.

Joe grew up in a two-bedroom Brooklyn apartment with his mom, aunt, grandmother and two cousins. To make ends meet, the family depended on food stamps and other government programs.

"I grew up believing that it was normal living in an apartment building, not having a dad around and buying goods with food stamps," Nelson says.

Joe's perception ultimately changed when he witnessed how hard his mother worked to eradicate barriers in order to succeed. "My mother has been a driving force in my life," he continues. "She was determined to seize many opportunities. This led me to believe that I can change, and I do not have to accept things for how they are."

Upon entering the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at CCNY, Joe took a deep interest in working to improve the health of persons in impoverished neighborhoods. The aspiring student concentrated on bioethics and became both a Colin Powell Fellow and Leonard Davis Community-based Research Fellow.

As a Colin Powell Fellow, Joe focused on reducing the barriers to the patient-doctor interaction such as health literacy and access to care. As a research fellow, he focused on ten zip codes in Harlem, to ensure that the communities had adequate resources for patients to rely upon. Joe plans to attend the NYU School of Medicine in the fall for the final two years of medical school. He hopes to become a physician soon afterwards.

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Joe Nelson

"My mother has been a driving force in my life. She was determined to seize many opportunities. This led me to believe that I can change, and I do not have to accept things for how they are."
-Joseph Nelson