By: Princess Jhane Stepherson-Lowry
The background of Marcul Joseph’s lifestyle and upbringing is more telling than any of his academic accomplishments here at the University of Central Florida.
Joseph was born in the small town of Haiti, a Caribbean country in the Western Hemisphere of North America. He was raised 15 minutes away from Cite Soleil, which in English is Sun City. It is an extremely poor populated area with a high death rate from AIDS. This UCF Student is inspired by the challenges he faced growing up in Haiti.
From AIDS, HIV and violence, Joseph has witnessed more than the “typical” child.
“You would never know when looking at Marcul all that he has seen as a little boy,” said Shashelia Sheffield, a member of the Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship group with Joseph. “He has seen more than your normal kid has but he’s managed to turn into someone so caring and giving, it’s really amazing to see.”
Joseph started at UCF in Fall 2013 after immigrating to the United States in 2009 at age 15. He is a double major in Political Science Prelaw and Legal Studies.
“I chose Political Science Prelaw because politics in Haiti are corrupt, I want to be somewhere where I know I can help people,” Joseph said.
He was heavily influenced by the situations he encountered while living in Haiti. Joseph said “you would see things like rape and human trafficking happen all the time but it was the norm so no one complained.”
Since coming to the United States, Joseph realized the difference between what is “normal” and what is not.
“Legal Studies is just my way of being an advocate for the voiceless. I want to help.” Joseph added.
Joseph has big plans for himself serving his school and community in the best way he knows. Currently, he works for the UCF Student Government Association as a Senator for the College of Sciences. His job there is to interact with the Registered Student Organization,s funding different opportunities for the university. He also speaks five languages, being fluent in English, French and Creole and educated in Spanish and Russian.
Besides his job and skills, Joseph is still very active. He is the founder and President of the French Circle at UCF, which originated in January 2014. He also was Vice President and Prayer Coordinator of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship from May 2014 to May 2015, where he is still a current member. Finally, he is the former Vice President to Pi Delta Phi French National Honor Society, serving from April 2013 to April 2014.
“I have tried to make the best of everything, for myself and those around me,” Joseph said.
Joseph is all about the people. As a child growing up in one of Haiti’s needy areas, a lot of his friends could not afford an education. Often times Joseph would bring his books and assignments back home to teach his friends what he had learned in school that day.
His father was a phone specialist in Haiti who worked seven days a week while his mother cared for him and his older brother, Maxary.
Joseph said his parents are proud of the young man he has become and the man he is becoming. However, he explained that his parents have concerns over his desired career fields. He revealed that his parents were upset with him because they did not want for him to become a dishonest man.
“Some people in Haiti have a belief that lawyers are thieves and politicians are corrupt,” Joseph added. However, he has no intention in that. He is convinced that by showing others someone else cares, the world will be a better place.
In fact, this past March Joseph spent his entire Spring Break serving those in need. He traveled to Atlanta with a group of seven other UCF students who are in the Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship group. While serving, the group members slept in the fellowship hall of a church, Seven Bridges to Recovery, a non-profit Christian organization that works to help the homeless in Atlanta.
Although Joseph was raised Catholic he later converted to Christianity at the young age of nine when he came to visit his family one summer in Miramar, Florida.
“I felt like Jesus was smiling at me and in that moment I knew it was ok,” Joseph said.
The rough times of crime and violence that Joseph saw in Haiti inspired him to make a difference within politics, law, the religion of Christianity and his self. He said he was appreciative to have been allowed the opportunity to live in two places that operate so opposite of one another.
“One day I want to be the change in a community or be an influence of that change that betters all,” Joseph said.
Thanks to his real world experiences and efforts to do so, there is no doubt that Marcul Joseph will one day succeed in his goals.