When Marcelo Gonzalez, journalism ’18, chose to come to Tennessee Tech from his home country of Peru, he was interested in studying computer science. As he became more involved in campus activities, he found that his true interest was in public speaking and storytelling.
He joined the speech and debate team and soon found himself switching his major to a communications focus. Now in his senior year, Gonzales is the managing editor of the student newspaper The Oracle, president of the campus chapter of the Society of Collegiate Journalists, president of Pi Kappa Delta Speech and Debate Team, assistant editor-in-chief of The Eagle yearbook and DJ on WTTU campus radio.
“I joined the (speech and debate) team the second week of school, and as soon as I got up there it was great. I loved it,” he said. “Being in tournaments was so much fun, it was like an escape for me.”
Gonzales has always had an interest in public speaking and found the speech and debate team not only to be a stage for his interests but also to be a close community of friends.
“I am happy to say that the norm is that everyone is super nice here,” he said. “What I have seen here is that the general feeling of college is that everyone is equal. It doesn’t matter where you are from at this point.”
That community extends beyond his fellow students and team members, he says. Gonzalez says he feels comfortable talking with anyone at Tech, from the campus custodial staff all the way to university administrators.
As a journalism student, it is the human connections and the individual stories that he is interested in telling.
“What I have found is that I really enjoy looking at the smaller picture and approaching stories from a personal level,” he said. “It makes you care. I feel like if people don’t care, nothing will happen. The first step toward making a change in our world is for people to care.”
If he can help people connect and care about the things happening around them, he sees the possibility for real social impact, he says.