by Joey DiGangi
On Nov. 13, Juniata will say goodbye to Rosalie Rodriguez, special assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion. She has held this position since 2002 and will now move into a position at Bucknell University.
“My responsibilities would be to work specifically with ALANA (African, Latino, Asian, Native American) students and doing programming, running a mentoring program, doing service learning projects (and) some student support services. So, it’s within the student affairs end of things,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez’s time at Juniata began in 1997 when she entered the College as a freshman. She began working for the College after her graduation in 2001 as an enrollment counselor and then took over as the special assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion in 2002.
When looking back on her time at Juniata, Rodriguez had difficulty identifying specific moments that made her time here special. “There’s favorite moments every year,” she said. “Things that really excite me are kind of like small things, like little glimmers I see in peoples’ eyes when they kind of get it for the first time, or when the light bulb goes off and they go, ‘oh my God, I never thought about it that way.’”
For Rodriguez, teaching her Beyond Tolerance course was one of the ways she was able to witness a great number of these eye-opening moments. “It’s a cultural analysis course that I’ve been teaching since 2007,” said Rodriguez. “It’s an opportunity where I get to have the same students for an entire semester, and we get to really dive very deep into issues of power and privilege. That’s where I see the most light bulbs go off, so that’s really exciting for me.”
Looking to the future, Rodriguez is optimistic about working at Bucknell University. “I’m really excited to be a part of a bigger team of people,” said Rodriguez. “They have a much larger operation there, so it’s a little bit different than our structure here. They have a separate person who works with ALANA students, another person who works with LGBTQ students. There’s a women’s center, then there’s a chaplain who does all the religious affairs, and they all report to the same person. So I’ll be part of a team of people who work on diversity issues within student affairs.”
The pain of leaving Juniata after 18 years is lessened by the comfort she has received from knowing she is leaving the institution in a good place. “It’s like leaving home,” she said. “(But) I feel good about the place that Juniata is right now when it comes to diversity and inclusion, and I feel like we have leadership on board who really are very invested in making sure those efforts continue. I’m not scared about leaving, and (I’m) looking forward to knowing that I am leaving Juniata in good hands.”
Categories: Volume 97 Issue 3 News