2022 2022: Biology student named one of "29 Who Shine" by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
Biology student named one of "29 Who Shine" by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

Diego Alejandro Marroquin '22 awarded for commitment to community

Diego Marroquin volunteering serving food
Marroquin prepares meals for his community

Governor Charlie Baker recently honored Diego Alejandro Marroquin '22 of Lawrence, Massachusetts as one of "29 Who Shine". Each year, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education award honors 29 outstanding students, one from each public institution. Marroquin, an immigrant from Guatemala and first-generation college student who recently graduated with a degree in Biology at UMassD, was chosen for his volunteer work in SouthCoast communities.

"Diego and his success at UMass Dartmouth showcases the power of public higher education as an engine of opportunity,” said Chancellor Mark A. Fuller. “As the first member of his family to attend college, Diego is not only leveraging that power to secure his future, he is using his talents to serve the common good and help others follow in his footsteps.  He is an exceptional role model for members of his community and his peers on campus.”

"I have always had a passion for creating a change in my community," said Marroquin. "My mother always taught my brothers and I to help others whenever we have the opportunity, and for this reason, I do not see volunteering as something I have to do; I see it as something I want to do."

Marroquin is focused on his community. Eager to promote social change, Marroquin has volunteered at Gifts to Give in Acushnet, where he has mentored children and contributed to building a more caring community. Through this volunteer opportunity, he learned that small differences matter, and he has become a guiding light to his community. Another passion of his is to help curb food insecurity by feeding members of his community through the Cor Unum Meal Center. Since 2018, he has served restaurant-quality food to those in need. His commitment to the meal center has enhanced his perspective on life, particularly his appreciation for his place in life and his privilege to help others. Marroquin has also contributed countless service hours through the UMass Dartmouth Leduc Center for Civic Engagement.

Diego Marroquin headshot

Marroquin has consistently made time for his success when not volunteering, holding a 3.92-grade point average, and making the Chancellor's list (3.8 GPA or higher) each of his last five semesters.

"Making the Chancellor's list, to me, is proof that hard work pays off. I am the first person in my family to go to college, and I see my academic success as a way to thank all the people who made sacrifices to give me the opportunity for a college education," said Marroquin. "To succeed at UMassD, I have come to discover that it doesn't matter where you come from, the language you speak, the color of your skin, or how much wealth your family has. It matters how much you are willing to work for your dreams and keep moving forward."

After UMassD, he plans to work as a medical scribe and a medical interpreter before enrolling in medical school. Marroquin hopes that he will lay the foundation and continue the efforts to improve healthcare for all, especially for those in underserved communities.