By the age of 10, Michael Warner knew he wanted to be an author. After watching all of the Lord of the Rings movies and reading all of the series novels, his aspirations of becoming a published writer were set. Now, he is preparing to release his own series of novels – a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic fantasy strongly driven by a sub-element of mystery, and focusing heavily on themes about what higher powers exist and how they influence our lives.
Michael is the first Forman Scholar to graduate from college, finishing his career at Rowan University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. After graduation, he worked as a lab technician at Drexel University’s Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, but soon found himself desiring a different path.
“There was very little room for creative expression,” Michael said about his pivot from a science-based career. “I had very little energy to really write in the volume I knew I could while I was working as a lab tech.”
After a while, the thought of constantly being around chemicals no longer appealed to Michael, and he found the rigidity of the job too stressful. He needed a creative outlet, so he left lab work behind and veered toward honing his writing skills with the intention of writing his own novels.
However, that doesn’t mean his work in and knowledge of science would go to waste. While Michael focuses more on the fantastical story aspects than honing down on every scientific detail, his scientific background helps him in creating the best stories possible.
“I don't linger on the more scientific aspects of it all,” Michael said. “I dwell a lot more on the story and the character dynamics in play than I do on crafting it into a more hardcore scientific novel.”
His soon-to-be-released series features three novels and tells the story of a dystopian world where characters are being watched by an all-seeing, powerful presence. Michael delves into themes of loss, exploitation, power-structures and capitalism. The novels are scheduled to be released in the upcoming month.
As the first Forman Scholar to graduate, Michael certainly has a lot of fellow Scholars looking up to him. He is incredibly grateful for the doors the scholarship opened for him and is excited to see the scholarship program continue to grow and provide students with great paths for the future.
“The Foundation has been nothing but positive and supportive to me, and I'm sure it has been to all of the graduates within the program as well,” Michael said. “I would argue the Foundation is the best thing to ever happen to this school district.”
Offering advice for high school students who want to become Forman Scholars, Michael suggests studying as hard and as efficiently as possible in a way that fits each student’s personal style. It’s a strategy that worked well for him, and as a future novelist, he knows a thing or two about how to hit the books.
“Try to focus on bettering yourself daily as a student and as a person,” Michael said. “For college students, don't forget to always look at the syllabus and constantly refine your study habits and systems until they best suit your needs.”