by Zanna Shapiro
Once an international student at St. Francis College (SFC) and now a full time faculty member, Marlon D. Joseph teaches a variety of science classes at SFC.
Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island republic in the Caribbean, Professor Joseph heard about St. Francis College after completing the SAT exam and graduating from the prestigious high school Fatima College, “my neighborhood church in Belmont was the St. Francis parish.”
He attended SFC on a full scholarship,
“It was a really exciting opportunity to get to come to New York and to get to meet people from all around the world and to experience all different cultural stuff…more than anything else, I love nature..but if you love nature, you have to understand some of human nature too. New York City is one of modern day meccas of human nature, a place that allows us to understand many facets of human nature.”
He completed his undergraduate studies in biology and math at St. Francis College. He then earned a Master’s in Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Hunter College and completed his doctoral studies in epidemiology at Boston University.
He currently teaches anatomy and physiology, general biology, microbiology, and epidemiology.
“What I like about epidemiology is that it blends both biology and mathematics along with many other scientific disciplines to understand and explain the determinants and distribution of health problems and/or solutions. It has the potential to impact many people and the way we think about health using data analytics,” he said.
In the past, Joseph has also taught statistics and neurobiology.
Joseph comes from a family of teachers, “…my grandfather was a principal, everyone else teaches. And I chose teaching health because my mom was a nurse and I wanted to encourage people to have healthier lives.”
He likes teaching because “you see the benefits and see people grow and I learn a lot from my students. It’s a positive thing to do.”
He eventually saw himself as a professor, but didn’t always know that’s what he was going to pursue.
“You want to create change, you want to do something that causes change…sounds like a big deal but one step at a time and you’ll do it,” Joseph said.
He likes to see when students are “first exposed to the microscopic world and they really grasp some of the major scientific concepts.”
Professor Joseph chose to teach at SFC because, “I think SFC in general has a lot of vibrant students and for me it’s exciting to be here.”
On the side, Joseph engages in some research. Recent projects include research related to breast cancer mortality in the Caribbean and reproductive epidemiology.
He was also a part of a 4-year European Union, Latin American and Caribbean (EU LAC) Health Project, which connected 20 countries in an effort to “network, facilitate science, and collaborate”.
Meetings were held in Madrid, Mexico City, Rome and San Jose, Costa Rica.
When he’s not teaching or researching, Professor Joseph is traveling — he’s been to at least 25 countries. During his travels he hikes, travels, plays, participates in water sports, and takes pictures.
In fact, photography has become one of his hobbies, something that he shares with his Dad, who is a digital media professional.
Joseph said he is interested in having a photography exhibit right on campus at the Callahan Center.
He takes pictures of anything, “sunsets, flowers, nature in general, rivers, beaches, landscapes, adventure, colorful pictures.”
The potential exhibit is still a work in progress because Professor Joseph has yet to choose a theme to concentrate on.
Nevertheless, he remains optimistic about the future, “I try to be positive about most things in life” and encourages students to do the same.
His advice for SFC students is to “say a prayer, and take one step at a time and truly make the best out of all opportunities.”