In her six years at Housatonic, Rebecca Rodriguez has touched the lives of many students, largely because of the relationships she’s built with them, and her personal understanding of the challenges they face.
Born and raised in Bridgeport, Rebecca is a product of the Bridgeport public school system. A first-generation college student and second-generation immigrant, Rebecca completed her high school and college education as a single mom. Her experience as a UCONN Stamford commuter student shaped her interest in pursuing a career in higher ed.
“I had difficulty navigating the college process and didn’t feel that I received the support in terms of connection to resources. I could have done so much better had I had help, or someone on campus that I could have connected with. My goal was to work in higher ed, helping students navigate the onboarding process and to help them while they’re here too,” she said.
Help them she does. In addition to developing recruitment plans for international and domestic students, partnering with other colleges and area organizations, and hosting recruitment events, Rebecca is also a part-time lecturer of the Freshman Seminar class.
“I’m very passionate about supporting students and helping them to navigate the college process as it relates to adjustment, access to resources, and developing skills that will help them to be successful during their time at Housatonic, so that’s what that class does for me,” she said.
Rebecca sees the recruitment events as a critical part of her role. She plans and runs information sessions, open houses, accepted student days, super Saturdays and more both on campus and virtually. In addition, she partners with programs within our community, conducting outreach and hosting events.
“I like to partner up with programs within our community. For me, it’s seeing their faces when they first walk onto our campus, because for a lot of these program participants, they’ve never been on a college campus before. When I give presentations, I hear ‘I didn’t think this was possible for me, I didn’t think I could do this’ – it’s those rewarding interactions that are most memorable.
Prior to her current role, Rebecca spent three years as a counselor in HCC’s counseling and advising center and came to Housatonic as the assistant director of admissions, a role she held for six years at the University of Bridgeport.
“My dream is to work in my hometown. I wanted to serve my community and the surrounding areas, and I relate to a lot of our students. Being born and raised here in Bridgeport, growing up in the public school system, being a teem mom, graduating high school on time, being the only one in my family to go to college, I am our students. That’s why I try to go above and beyond in everything that I do,” she said.
In addition to her work at Housatonic, Rebecca records voiceovers for Scholastic in Spanish, and serves on the boards of Connecticut Talent Assistance Cooperative (CONNTAC), the Child and Family Guidance Center and Beta Sigma Alpha Sororidad Latina, INC., the first Latina sorority at the University of Connecticut. In addition to her 19-year-old son, who is a junior at UCONN and took classes at HCC while attending high school, Rebecca has a one-year-old daughter.