Scholar Class – 2012
Marco Herndon was born in Atlanta to a Peruvian mother and American father, and raised between Peru, Atlanta, and Washington, DC. Though his upbringing was marked by instability, it brought him closer to his Peruvian heritage and made him more independent and introspective. During middle school, Marco experienced verbal and physical assault because of his sexuality -- an experience that had a profound effect on him. Marco came out in the tenth grade and since then has worked on behalf of his passions for Latino and LGBTQ youth development. Though he frequently relocated and was thus unable to hold long‐term leadership positions, he nonetheless led a Gay‐Straight Alliance and formed a Latin American Student Organization.
In the eleventh grade, Marco moved to Washington, DC. He took advantage of the city’s highly developed network of non‐profits and focused his interest on issues affecting marginalized youth by interning at an LGBTQ youth rights organization and as a mentor and instructor to urban youth. As an intern, Marco led a campaign against LGBTQ youth bullying, while also working as a mentor to at‐risk middle school students, through which he learned firsthand the difficulties faced by urban youth in terms of race, poverty, and educational inequality. After graduating from high school, Marco continued to pursue his extracurricular interests on a gap year with City Year – a national service program – and created community service projects for under‐resourced DC public schools and communities.
As a student at Univesity of Pennsylvania, Marco plans to concentrate in history and urban studies with a focus on critical race studies. In the future, he hopes to pursue a legal career that works to ameliorate social inequality.