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-Leon Santoyo , U.S. Marine Corps

University of Texas, El Paso
B.S., Criminal Justice

Learn more about Leon

Originally born in Mexico, Leon grew up witnessing the origins of the the drug war that was taking place around him as he grew up in Ciudad Juarez. After moving to the United States, the opportunities afforded to his family in this country made him realize how fortunate he was to have left his original country of birth. With a great desire to serve his new country, and with permission from his parents, Leon enlisted in the Marine Corps at the age of 17, graduating boot camp to serve as an infantryman.

After three successful deployments, including two in Iraq, Leon re-enlisted and was later selected to join his unit’s sniper platoon. During his time as a sniper, Leon was meritoriously promoted to sergeant and served two additional deployments as a sniper team leader. For actions during his final deployment to Sangin, Afghanistan, Leon was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat “V” and was also selected to train a group of Georgian Army soldiers in Germany before leaving the service in 2013.

As a Tillman Scholar, Leon graduated with a 4.0 from the University of Texas in El Paso majoring in Criminal Justice. He is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Intelligence and National Security with the goal of joining the intelligence community and impacting crime on a global scale.