Growing up outside of Los Angeles as one of four children to a single mom, Luis Morales saw people being marginalized, bullied and intimidated. He knew from an early age that he wanted to help people in need.
On September 11, 2001, Luis watched as a second plane flew into the World Trade Center. He decided then, at the age of 19, to join the United States Army, placing himself on the front lines where he believed he could best serve his country.
Luis earned a position in the Special Forces as a Green Beret. During the two tours he served in Afghanistan, it was his personal mission to show people kindness and hope. His best memories are those of sharing meals with the Afghan people and passing out pencils and paper to children.
During his final mission in Afghanistan, Luis tragically lost his good friend and squad mate in combat. After accompanying him back to his family in the United States, Luis returned to the front line in Afghanistan to continue his brave service. During this time, Luis continued to stay connected with his friend’s family and, out of deep sorrow, a love grew. Upon leaving the Army, Luis married his friend’s sister, Kelsey. A Gold Star family, they are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters.
Luis continued his education after separating from the Army. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University South Bend while supporting his growing family. His passion for math and physics ignited, Luis is pursuing a Ph.D. studying Nuclear Astrophysics at the University of Notre Dame, leveraging both his education and experience from serving his country. Luis has contributed to the design and construction of a specialized detector system for the St. George Recoil Separator, more effective than any other detective systems currently available. Luis’ research has the potential to be applied to other domains in which a signal is difficult to isolate from noise, such as medical testing and security at border checkpoints.
Thanks to his strong conviction, work ethic, and the generosity of the Notre Dame family, Luis Morales continues his mission to make a difference to those in need around the world.