Rudy Rodriguez joins NHI staff, bringing asset-based perspective to college outreach
Rudy Rodriguez’s NHI journey began when she was a freshman at Del Rio high school in 2002. As she remembers, “Somebody in the community said you need to do this program. They put a group of us in a car … to Alpine, Texas at the time, for a Young Leaders Conference, a Great Debate, and extemp was my thing!”
While she enjoyed the competition, she enjoyed the camaraderie even more, noting, “I remember that it was just an amazing experience being around other like-minded students. I loved it, and made friends there from across especially that region of Texas.”
The experience helped propel her to becoming a Hispanic Scholar through the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, keeping connected to higher education opportunities through the College Register, and she eventually earned a full scholarship to the University of Alabama.
“I’ve always felt that I owe so much to NHI,” she noted. “I’ve always thought, ‘I should go back, I owe them so much.’ I need to go back, and so I found myself back here. It has been like coming home.”
Rodriguez comes to NHI as its new Associate Director for Enrollment & Institutional Relations, helping to coordinate with NHI’s College Register members, working directly with this summer’s John F. Lopez Fellows who will help NHI run its summer programs, and — most immediately — recruiting the remaining students for NHI’s slate of Collegiate World Series programs at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.
From her experience learning and teaching in Del Rio, she’s lived the NHI approach, viewing communities as asset-based, and she’s eager to apply that to her work with the organization.
“Being from Del Rio, I would say it’s a 99% Latino community,” she noted. “I know that in that community, it’s rich in academic talent. Families are involved, getting their students involved in the UIL and summer programs, all of the sports and all of these things.”
She believes, based on that engagement, that more Latino communities and more people within existing NHI communities are ready for NHI.
“I love that NHI empowers the youth through the experiences that they provide. We have the talent, but there needs to be that community leadership to bridge that gap.”
Rodriguez is available via email for anyone excited to help provide that leadership — be they higher education representatives, community leaders, or anyone else invested in developing and cultivating Latino leadership.