Name: Elaine Rodriguez
Major: Pre-Physical Therapy
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Committee: Engaged Learing/ Civic Engagement
Hello all! My name is Elaine Rodriguez. I am currently a sophomore and I am a Pre-Physical Therapy major with a Public Health minor. I am a first generation, Latina college student. I am proud to be receiving my education at Northern Illinois University. It truly is a great school when you learn how to utilize your resources and get involved! Some difficulties I had when I first arrived at NIU was getting used to the different surrounding, different type of classroom and learning environment, and especially learning about your major and what comes along with it. Coming from a minority background there is more pressure put on you to succeed and to set an example for other minorities. This pressure can be negative but if you are able to look at the positive side, it is a motivation to do well. When I feel stressed and if things are not going right I remind myself why I am in college and why I must continue to do well. With this is mind, my family is my main motivation to be successful in college and throughout my life. Attending NIU has been one of the greatest, most blind decisions I have ever made. I did not do much research on the college I wanted to attend and I was lucky enough to have chosen NIU. Being at NIU not only has given me a great college experience but it has made me grow as an educated person.
Unfortunately, many Latinos do not have a college education for whatever reason. I believe this needs to change to better prepare ourselves for the job industry. Having an education is a privilege and it’s important for society. The more people who receive an education the more our society will prosper. I want to motivate and be an example for other students especially minority students that do not take advantage of what’s around them. During my freshman year I knew my major was highly competitive so I was very motivated to get involved and try to meet as many professors, staff and students. The majority of my involvement was through the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning and the Latino Resource Center. At OSEEL, I am a part of Research Rookies which is an incredible program where you are able to do research alongside a professor. The experience I have there helps me through everything else I am involved in. This year at OSEEL I am still a Research Rookie that also peer mentors other students with their research. Not only that but I am a UNIV Peer Leader for the Exploring Health Majors Themed Learning Community. At the Latino Resource Center, I was involved through many programs that helped me during my freshman year. There was F.R.E.S.H. (Freshman Receiving Experience and Study Habits) which is a tutoring program that helped me through the classes I was struggling through. I was involved in Dream Action which is an organization that helps students be aware of the situation that undocumented students and people have to go through. Being involved has helped me realize what I am capable of doing as an individual.
My involvement at NIU has shaped me into becoming a leader. I want to lead other students into becoming leaders by following the footsteps that I have taken. As a Northern Light Ambassador, I want to help students that are underrepresented. By helping them I will engage them into what NIU offers them. I want to help students find their niche like I have found mine. I also want to help them do well in the classroom. This is the first priority of every student. The last goal I have for other students is to become a volunteer in the DeKalb community. It is important to give back to DeKalb after it has given us such a great school.