Josh Rosenblum isn’t your typical high school student or Paradise Valley Community College graduate. Homeschooled since he was a youngster, Rosenblum, 18, moved to the Valley just before high school, taking PVCC classes concurrently while homeschooled. As his interest in mathematics grew, so did his focus.
“I never considered myself a big math fan, but I found myself engaged and enjoying it, surprisingly,” he said. “I just loved it.”
Several of his PVCC instructors also became mentors, guiding him through his PVCC experience and having a big impact on his education. “They were fantastic people, really funny too.”
Making his own schedule and taking courses of interest to him helped him grow and opened a variety of opportunities, not only in math, but also Spanish, guitar, and other subjects that interested him.
“It’s important for people to not decide too quickly what it is they want to do in life,” he said. “I took a lot of time and a variety of different classes to find what I enjoyed. Learning about a lot of different things and making connections between various subjects has made me a more well-rounded person and is definitely one of the reasons I am headed to Harvard.”
After taking a year off to work, intern, and travel, Rosenblum will head to Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he currently plans to study environmental science and engineering., Rosenblum adds, however, that nothing is set in stone. A self-described world explorer with a voracious appetite for travel and exploring new places, Rosenblum has big plans for the coming year.
This summer, he will take part in an applied math research program at Arizona State University with 19 peers to focus on modeling weather and climate. After that, Rosenblum hopes to work for an environmental sustainability startup in Europe or Scandinavia during the fall and winter. He then plans to spend the spring traveling and backpacking throughout Japan and Southeast Asia as well as working on an organic farm through WWOOF, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
Once back on the east coast, the sky’s the limit.
“To me, Harvard has always been like Hogwarts in Harry Potter: unattainable. It’s a dream come true and I want to make the most of it,” he said. “My mom always told me growing up that there is room at the top, meaning if you push for it, you can really go anywhere. Community college for me was fantastic. Anyone who is motivated, ambitious, and engaged in their community can reach the top, so my advice is shoot high and maybe something crazy will happen – like getting into Harvard.”