Alumni Shines

Recent Wilkes Honors College grad now making waves at Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

Asnel JosephJune 17th, 2015 (Jupiter, FL)–– Asnel Joseph ’15 moved from Cap-Haïtien, Haiti to Vero Beach, FL in 2009. His mother had been living in Florida since the early 1990s and he was finally able to join her with his sister and two brothers. As a child growing up in Haiti he always wanted to help people and knew he wanted to become a doctor. After moving to Florida, he immediately began helping people in the community through his church, First Haitian Baptist Church of Vero Beach.  He volunteers to clean the church and provide lawn maintenance when needed every other weekend even while attending college.

Joseph became the first person in his family to attend college in 2011 when he enrolled at the Indian River State College (IRSC). While at IRSC he learned about the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of FAU and jumped at the chance to apply. “I was attracted to the living and learning community of the campus along with their biological chemistry program,” Joseph said. “It seemed like the perfect place for me.”

The Wilkes Honors College’s dedicated faculty, well-planned curriculum and small class sizes not only promote the interconnectedness of students and professors, but also leads students to develop professional skills throughout their academic careers to increase their competitiveness.

This unique learning curriculum helped Joseph land an internship with some of the world’s best scientists at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience. Joseph applied and was accepted into the Max Planck Florida Institute Scholars Program in 2014 to gain lab research experience in neurology. He interned under Dr. M. McLean Bolton, researching the disorders of neural circuit function.

Upon graduation from the Wilkes Honors College in May 2015, Joseph was offered a job in Dr. Bolton’s lab to continue his research of neural circuit disorders. His investigations focus on brain circuitry and its role in diseases such as Huntington’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.

Joseph is grateful for the many opportunities he found while attending the Wilkes Honors College of FAU and plans to attend medical school in the near future. 


About Florida Atlantic University: Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

Last Modified 11/8/16