Warner Carnero, Paramus Catholic High School grad is now a PhD Student in Physical Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania.
Warner was a 17-year-old junior at Paramus Catholic when he discovered his passion for Chemistry. Mufeda Zhort, Science Department Coordinator, and Warner’s AP Chemistry teacher made the course “…very, very exciting. I realized that Chemistry explains the mystery of human life itself,” says Warner. Soon he was participating in competitions, taking high level scientific exams for fun and to see how he stacked up against other high school science students. Warner refers to these as the “Olympiad exams” and loved sharing his solutions and ideas on how to solve the problems within a group of his peers. He earned certificates for participation in Honors Chemistry, Advanced Placement Chemistry and AP Physics exams, sometimes scoring in the top 5%.
Ms. Zhort had other plans for Warner as well. “She played an influential role in my becoming the president of the Science League,” says Warner. Her faith in him was well placed. His relentless intellectual curiosity motivated him to research and make copies of science articles on his own time and bring them into club for discussion. “He would initiate conversations with the students, and he’s always willing to lend a helping hand to others,” says Ms. Zhort.
Warner soon decided he wanted to pursue a career in the sciences and entered Johns Hopkins University where he majored in Chemistry and graduated in 2021. He is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry.
Warner’s mom, Roxana and dad, Miguel immigrated from Peru and settled in Paterson where they raised Warner and his younger brother, Miguel Angelo. Warner’s Peruvian heritage and culture are a big influence on him. “I have been hugely motivated by my parents’ values and life experiences. Suffering and struggle to succeed has existed for generations in my family and I have the responsibility to be a role model. I was the first one to go to college. So I have to be the first one to escape from the reality of struggling. I escape it by studying, getting a good education and working hard,” says Warner.
Since both Warner’s mom and dad are disabled, Warner is acutely aware of and grateful for his education.
“I have to thank TCSF for giving me the money for the scholarship – without that I wouldn’t be in the place I’m in right now. I just want to thank them for providing the money and support. I’m really thankful,” says Warner.
Mufeda Zhort says of Warner’s future, “I see him with a white coat. He’s not going to just settle. He’s going to keep accomplishing. He will always think of learning new things. There’s no stopping him.”