Mark was a dynamic and charismatic young man who attended school on the Tohono O’odham reservation in Sells, Arizona.

As a young child, he lived with his mom who moved around a lot and was unable to provide a safe and stable home. Mark eventually moved to Arizona to live with his dad at the beginning of his freshman year. But sadly, his dad was arrested and imprisoned. He was bounced around between his step-grandmother who lived on the Tohono O’odham reservation and a friend’s family who lived in Tucson. Mark was so committed to school that he would sometimes make a 2 ½ hour bus commute from Tucson to Sells to ensure his perfect attendance record!

Despite many challenges in his life, Mark graduated as his school’s salutatorian. He won the International Science Fair and also earned numerous scholarships including: The Wildcat Excellence Scholarship, the Southern Arizona

Regional Science Engineering Fair Scholarships, a Dorrance Merit Scholarship, and a Gates Millennium Scholarship (which will ensure that he earns his doctorate without debt). He was accepted into the University of Arizona in 2014 and is on track to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in 2018. He plans to pursue a career in educational administration. Mark says that his life was made possible by Youth On Their Own, and his goal is to be able to someday donate to help another youth in need like he was.