First-generation college student Marcos Romero Turner has overcome many obstacles to enroll at Warner Pacific University to begin his bachelor’s degree in social entrepreneurship this fall. Abandoned by his parents at the age of three, Marcos bravely chose the road less traveled and is cultivating a brighter future.
Marcos’s grandparents helped pave this road for him by stepping up to raise Marcos when there was nowhere else to turn. Marcos says the most influential person in his life is his grandfather, “He has been a big part of showing me how to have integrity and work hard.” As Marcos grew up, and as the reality of his story and troubling past came to light for him, his grandparents committed to providing him the best education possible. They found Mt. Scott Learning Center in Portland, and Marcos first enrolled in the middle school program, where he felt welcomed by the community.
When faced with the opportunity to enter the Learning Center’s high school program or attend a public school, Marcos chose Mt. Scott. “Staying at Mt. Scott was the best decision I made. The Mt. Scott staff are family to me, and they looked and noticed the passion I had for education. Opportunities began to arise, and when I see an opportunity, I go for it.”
Opportunities indeed arose for Marcos. After class one day, one of his counselors invited him into his class to hear a guest speaker, Dan Gaul, the cofounder of Digital Trends. After Dan shared his professional journey with the class, Marcos was the only student to walk up and thank him for speaking. As they spoke, Dan heard the dreams and determination Marcos carried. Soon after, Dan contacted Marcos and insisted on being his mentor and sponsored Marcos for a business program in Portland called Young Entrepreneurs Business Week (YEBW). This program, along with the Mt. Scott Learning Center, helped Marcos see the value of his education. When it came time to consider college, Marcos knew he could do it—and he did—becoming the first person in his family to pursue higher education.
As Marcos toured a few local universities, something stood out to him about the Warner Pacific community. “I registered for the overnight stay, and I remember getting the whole experience in a day. I knew this was the place I wanted to spend the next four years instantly because the campus was easily accessible for me and I could get around to the places I needed to be at in no time! More importantly, that day I discovered a major that speaks to me and was super unique, and that was social entrepreneurship. I wanted to impact my community and start a nonprofit organization to supply homeless people in need with my own branded apparel. This major fits this almost perfectly. I wanted to take a leap of faith and go all-in for this major, and I am strongly passionate for what I want to do. I believe receiving my education at Warner Pacific, along with the connections and relationships I build here, will assist me to do just that! So, this experience was special because it truly felt like it was meant to be.”
Upon learning about the financial commitment, he thought attending WPU would not be possible. Then his counselor at Mt. Scott told him about the Act Six Scholarship, a leadership initiative that brings together diverse multicultural, urban leaders who want to use their college educations to make a difference on campuses and in their communities. Marcos shared, “I put my all into that process and I prayed to God with my counselor at Mt. Scott, ‘Dear God, if this is the place I am meant to be, then please help me make it so.’ That’s another reason I am meant to be here.” Marcos’s dreams came true when he learned he was one of fourteen students in the Portland area to receive the full-tuition Act Six Scholarship. The once “impossible” dream of pursuing a college degree was becoming a reality at Warner Pacific University.
Marcos is currently in the first semester of his degree in social entrepreneurship and is enjoying his Warner Pacific experience. He says, “The family-like connections, warm welcome, diversity, and the fact I can be myself here is amazing. I had to be here, and somehow God blessed me with this opportunity to make it happen.”
Marcos has big plans to impact the Portland community through social justice and innovation. He continues to embark on the road less traveled and is beginning to bring friends and peers along with him on this path of impact.
Warner Pacific University is a Christ-centered, urban, liberal arts university dedicated to providing students from diverse backgrounds an education that prepares them to engage actively in a constantly changing world. Learn more at www.warnerpacific.edu.