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“I was inspired (to become a Young Scholar) by my search for a community. I’ve been searching all my life for a group of people who share my passion and drive to explore new ideas. I applied not just looking for a way to broaden my horizons with the opportunities offered through the Young Scholars program, but to reach out to a community of other kids who cared about learning as much as I did. Unequivocally, I’ve found that community.”
Highlights of Young Scholar Experience: When Joe was asked to list the many events, classes and trips he participated in while a Young Scholar, the first thing he humbly said was: “I want to thank the Foundation for everything you’ve done for me . . . it has made me a better person.” He then launched into an explanation of each activity and how it changed his direction in life. For instance Joe was involved with the CivicWeek program which helped him focus his attention on social activism, while a leadership workshop held at the Foundation’s annual Welcome Weekend in Washington, DC “gave me the confidence and ability to act on my convictions.” Joe also received support for his many musical activities as well courses and programs in biology.
Profile: Joe Carlomagno has a gift. Many actually, but the gift he loves most is music. And he has no problem sharing that gift with others and to help others. Just last year he and several schoolmates at Montpelier High School performed at a benefit for Education Without Borders and helped to raise money for a school in Kenya. At last count Joe can play nine musical instruments, everything from violin to the ukulele. But there’s so much more to this young man’s life – and so many other interests, and at the top of the list is his commitment to civil and human rights.
Inspiration: In addition to his parents, “who have put up with my obsessive curiosity for almost 18 years now,” Joe credits his sixth grade teacher, Bill Burrell, who “opened my mind and made sure to engage all of my interests, accommodating my independent studies in math, introducing me to quantum mechanics, and recommending good books to read.” One of my favorite things about him was how he incorporated music into his life. “As a role model, he showed me how it was possible to be dedicated to your profession while still embracing music, something I hope to do as a physician some day.”
Aspiration: Someday Joe hopes to practice medicine.
Making a Difference: In 2008, Joe joined the Barack Obama for President Campaign as an assistant field organizer, training volunteers and helping to run the campaign office in Montpelier. That was a busy year for Joe as that summer, in response to a protest by an organization opposed to gay marriage, he organized a fundraiser that raised several thousand dollars for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.
Accolades: In the first semester of his senior year at Montpelier High School Joe received the highest score possible at the All New England Music Festival. A few months earlier the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont presented him with a special youth activism award in recognition of Joe’s “respect for 1st Amendment rights of others.” In addition Joe’s a National Merit Scholar and has racked up awards and blue ribbons for various music, language and mathematics competitions in his home state of Vermont.
Interesting fact: It’s a fishing story, but this one’s true. When Joe was seven and fishing off Martha’s Vineyard, he caught a striped bass that won the Silver Medal in the community’s fishing derby. (Joe says he has a picture of that fish but we’re still waiting to see it).
University of Texas at Austin