Born in Birmingham, Joel grew up in central rural Alabama and was an active participant and leader in athletics and scholastic clubs. As a rising senior in high school, he won a contest that allowed him to take an advanced summer program at the University of Alabama and instantly fell in love with the campus. After graduating from high school as one of the top of his class, Joel attended college at UA, which has “coincidentally” won 3 additional national championships since his presence on campus. He worked his way through college in a series of jobs, including genetic research of endangered Alabama spring-fed fish. He later settled in industry at a private R&D company that specializes in making industrial processes greener and more efficient. After graduating cum laude from the University with a BS in Biochemistry and minors in Mathematics and Psychology, Joel continued to work in industry for a year and a half, and is currently attending graduate school at the University of Alabama with an interest in the creation and analysis of novel organic polymer solar cells. In his spare time, Joel enjoys visiting with family, playing sports, exercising, cooking, and dancing.