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Cambridge is local student’s next challenge

BRADENTON — Bradenton resident Joshua Kezar dreams of building prosthetics for pets.

So to make that happen, he will attend Cambridge University this summer to study biological neuroscience and veterinary medicine.

And he’s only 15 years old.

Joshua, who starts his junior year this fall at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School in Bradenton, is one of 350 students across the country selected to participate in the Cambridge College Programme at the University of Cambridge in England.

The summer program offers challenging courses for high school students across the globe, allowing them to earn either high school or college credits, according to the program’s website.

This isn’t your typical summer school, said Joshua, who plans to board a plane to England on July 21.

Not only has he registered for biological neuroscience and intro to veterinary medicine classes, he’s taking a quantum physics course, too.

His parents Matt and Lisa Kezar boast he won’t struggle in the classes, either.

After all, he has a 4.1 grade point average and took the SAT in the seventh grade.

When he graduates, he hopes to attend the Vanderbilt University to double major in veterinary medicine and biomedical engineering.

“I’d like research devices to be used for medicinal purpose for animals,” he said. “I figure prosthetics do a lot for people and people care for their pets, so why not help out animals just like we help people out.”

An avid animal lover (especially of his dog Lucky) he got the idea while volunteering at the Manatee Veterinary Clinic on Manatee Avenue.

“I’ve seen them do surgeries there for the past few years and it got my interests up,” he said.

Dr. Paul May, the clinic’s former owner and the vet who worked with Josh, called his assistant a quiet and interested boy who loved to watch surgery.

“That’s awesome,” he said after learning of Josh’s future ambitions to design pet prosthetics. “It will be a challenge because of the kinetics, but there’s a lot of research out there. “People just won’t give up on their animals sometimes.”

After Joshua’s program is complete Aug. 11, he has plans to remain in Europe for 10 more days.

He’ll travel to France to stay with a French exchange student he befriended this past school year.

“My family hosted him this past school year so he invited me to stay at his house,” said Joshua, who added he’s ecstatic to learn more about the country and its people.

The teen is slated to return Aug. 22.

Joshua’s dad, a real estate land developer, who teaches conceptual physics and astronomy at Saint Stephen’s, said he’s ecstatic his son will study abroad this summer.

“What an opportunity for a young man,” his father said. “Both from a standpoint of an educational experience and a life experience.”

Ask his grandfather Dennis Kezar, a former priest at Christ Church in Bradenton, what he thinks about Joshua attending Cambridge and he might have a different opinion.

That’s because Dennis Kezar got his Ph.D from Oxford.

“So with Joshua going to Cambridge, the two have had some pretty good banter since the schools are very big rivalries,” Joshua’s dad said with a chuckle.

Natalie Neysa Alund, education reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7095.