Leo Panelo is a junior at Marian University pursuing a major in graphic design and a minor in information technology. He is a Senator for both Art Club and the new E-Sports Club that he helped start, an emerging club which was recently recognition as the best emerging organization.

“I’m that one kid from Saudi Arabia who is a Pilipino and studies in the United States of America with an Italian name. I was born and lived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia up until I moved to the United States for high school at St. Lawrence Seminary.

I’ve always dreamed of becoming an illustrator for books as well as an animator. At the last Comic-Con, I met my favorite artist who’s really inspired me since high school. I got to show him some of my artwork as well and he really liked it! He goes by the name Justin Currie. He’s what I aspire to be.

I really got into my field as I was growing up in Saudi Arabia. There were Arabic and Islamic classes and that wasn’t quite my language so I couldn’t understand. They let me have those periods as study sessions. I drew a lot and doodled with all my free time. I guess from there I developed this weird sense of grand imagination that I kept going with. I made characters and stories and shared them with a few friends. Making friends was hard, being so different from everyone.

My advisor is the one who’s really pushed me and motivated me to go forward with what I really love. I would definitely recommend Marian to other students. You can really get connected and network with all sorts of people. My brother was the one who was enthusiastic about coming to the United States. He wanted to study and really be a scientist so the main reason I ended up here was because I wanted to stick with my brother. I get home sick a lot but I like it here.