Juan Pablo Marroquin-McLead

Stay involved; immerse yourself in opportunity

Juan Pablo Marroquin-McLead is a 21-year-old senior from Houston. He is currently studying strategic communications and global international studies.  In 2016, he was named one of 16 Men of Merit at the University of Kansas.

A friend of mine from Virginia initially recommended KU to me. I toured here my junior year and met with a recruiter. After that, I was sold. I felt like this school didn’t just want my money but that they actually wanted me.

My dreams were to see what was out there for me. I needed to find myself in an environment outside of Texas. KU has offered me a place to expand those dreams and to help shape me into the person I want to be.

It was my grandfather who told me to be myself and stop worrying what other people thought.

KU has helped me find my self-confidence. I had some trouble believing in myself because of what I went through in high school. I was sort of an outcast. After coming to the University, I found a place I felt like I truly belonged.

The power of telling a story is what drew me to journalism. I watched "Mad Men" in high school and was always interested in '60s culture. That is what spark my interest in advertising and creativity.

Get involved. There are so many things to experience here, and people take it for granted. This degree will take you anywhere, but you need to explore those possibilities. Join organizations. Get involved. Find what you are happy with.

You have one life, right? What drives me is the desire to make the most of everything. It’s not the “A” or the good grades; it's being here with people that make me a better person. That is what motivates me.

Go out, take risks, and spread joy. One of my professors told me that and it stuck with me.

Out of all the experiences KU has offered me, studying abroad is in the top. I studied in Prague for a semester and worked at a non-profit focused on helping journalists find work in post-Soviet states. Between working for an impactful organization and experiencing amazing new places, it was a semester I will never forget.

Most people would assume that I am most proud of receiving the Man of Merit award, but it wasn’t about the recognition. Personally, I am most proud of finding and supporting causes that impact the KU community such as Hilarity for Charity, a cause I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of. 


Melissa Yunk is a senior from Burlington, Kansas. She is currently pursuing a double major in journalism and business marketing. She also enjoys traveling, food, and music of all kinds.