Juan Gallego Receives Harry S.Truman Scholarship
Juan Gallego came to the United States from Colombia in 2004. He could not speak English.
He enrolled in the second grade and was an English Language Learner (ELL) at a Boston public school for two years.
In 2007, his family moved to Chelsea and he began attending the St. Rose School. He graduated from Matignon High School in 2015 where he was a football captain and star quarterback and involved in several school and community service projects.
The son of Maria Barrientos, Gallego attended Bridgewater State University for a year.
“During my freshman year in college, I had a realization that I needed to try and succeed academically in order for me to help my community,” said Gallego.
At that time, he had begun coaching high school football at Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River and continued on as the head freshman coach at Randolph High School.
“The coaching was the motivation for me to really get my act together and try to do more, not only for myself, but to give back to these communities that are being disenfranchised to a large extent,” said Gallego.
On to Northeastern and a Call From the College President
Coinciding with his desire, in his words, “get my act together,” Gallego decided to transfer to Northeastern University, Boston. He was drawn to the school’s outstanding co-operative education program and interested in the Northeastern law school.
“When I first came to the United States, I lived in my aunt’s house which was a two-minute walk to Northeastern,” recalled Gallego. “My mom said I should strive to go to law school there and ever since then, I’ve wanted to go to law school at Northeastern.”
Everything has clicked well for Gallego at Northeastern where he is studying Political Science with a minor in Urban Studies. One of his favorite instructors at NU was former Gov. Michael S. Dukakis.
Gallego is a Dean’s List student with a 3.7 grade point average. He was recently notified that he has received a Harry S. Truman Scholarship in recognition of his community service and his aspiration to continue in public service. He was the recipient of a $30,000 scholarship to be used toward his graduate degree.
“I was really excited to receive the Truman Scholarship,” said Gallego. “The opportunity that I will have through this scholarship is going to open a lot of doors for me personally and help me give back to the many communities that I have been a part of.”
Gallego received notification of the prestigious award from Joseph A. Oun, president of Northeastern University.
“I was studying abroad and I was in Athens, Greece, the foundation of democracy, and I got a call from the president of Northeastern,” he said with a smile. “What a thrill. It was amazing.”
Offers praise for Sen. Edward Markey
Gallego had served as an intern in the Washington, D.C. office of U.S. Sen Edward J. Markey. He had the opportunity to travel to Korea to participate in an academic exchange program.
“It was a great experience to be exposed to foreign policy and expand my horizon at what else is out there in the world,” said Gallego. “I owe a large extent to where I am today to Sen. Markey and his staff. They’ve been great mentors, supporters, and friends.”
Gallego said he admires U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “for her grassroots efforts and the shock that she has brought to national politics overall.”
“She’s been able to galvanize support from all over the country,” said Gallego. “She’s been able to really be the star of the Democratic Party.”
He also cited State Rep. Andy Vargas of Haverhill as “a force of nature and a voice for the Latino community in Massachusetts.”
Gallego hopes to return to Washington following his academic career.
“Being in Washington was an amazing experience in all aspects and if I do aspire to be a public servant one day, I think that experience is much needed in order to be able to understand the many different opinions and the gridlock that can happen in politics and government,” he said.