Johntrell Bowles is a high school sophomore at 21st Century Charter School in Gary who plans on becoming an oncologist in the future. For now, he’s taking steps towards making that dream a reality through his acceptance to the prestigious International Human Cadaver Prosection Program this summer at the Indiana University School of Medicine-Northwest.

Johntrell Bowles is the third high school student to be admitted to the program, which typically accepts seasoned professionals or college graduates interested in making a career out of medicine. Johntrell decided to pursue the Human Cadaver program and the field of medicine while seeing his own mother struggle with health issues. In his own words, Johntrell wants to “Help people help their loved ones,” through his future career.

Mr. Daniel Velasco, a Teach For America History teacher at 21st Century Charter School-Secondary supported Johntrell by writing him a recommendation letter, reviewing his application essays and suggesting edits, and coaching him on his interview skills. Mr. Velasco accompanied Johntrell to his interview and was elated to hear the good news of Johntrell’s acceptance into the summer program. Mr. Velasco became a teacher to help students just like Johntrell be successful in school and pursue opportunities that would enable them to pursue higher education at highly competitive universities. He identifies one teacher during high school that was the catalyst in motivating him to pursue his undergraduate education at Princeton, and Mr. Velasco wants to be that same catalyst in his student’s lives as well.

The Human Cadaver Prosection program will begin June 3rd and end August 1st. During this time, Johntrell, along with other students, will participate in an anatomy lecture series, complete a Certification in Blood-Borne Pathogens and Laboratory Safety, conduct medical imaging of human cadavers, and perform human cadaver prosections. Johntrell will be trained in preparing a human cadaver for research and study by medical students.

Johntrell is currently a straight A student and is taking AP US History with Mr. Velasco as a sophomore. He hopes this program, and other leadership programs he’s participated in, such as SLYCE, will help him pursue a strong undergraduate education at an institution like Harvard or Princeton. As a Princeton alumnus, Mr. Velasco can’t help but root for Johntrell to attend Princeton.