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Student Profile: Carlos Rodriguez

University of Dayton junior Carlos Rodriguez has traveled to India and Africa through University-sponsored immersion trips. The San Antonio native is majoring in psychology and human rights studies with a minor in political science. He is interested in development work and advocating strongly for individuals with special needs.

Tell me about your 2015 immersion in India through campus ministry’s Center for Social Concern.

I was in India for approximately a month and we stayed with the Marianist sisters in Ranchi and the Marianist brothers in Bangalore. We worked with the Marianists’ REDS program, which is Ragpickers Education and Development Scheme. I met families living in the slums of India. We also went to New Delhi and Calcutta. In New Delhi, it was cool to see all the things going on there and in Calcutta we were working with the missionaries of charity.

What inspired you to study the impact and benefits of nursery school education in Malawi, Africa, this past summer during the Malawi Research Practicum Rights and Development?

I am here at UD because between my junior and senior year of high school I went to Malawi and met UD students doing the exact same thing I did this past summer. They told me to check out UD and when I did, I fell in love with it. The biggest thing for me was going back and doing research with Determined to Develop, which is a non-governmental organization founded by University alumnus Matt Maroon ’06. The impact and benefits of nursery school education interests me because I see the foundation of anything in life comes from childhood and seeing that child grow. I see the children as the future and being able to see how Determine to Develop was helping was the biggest reason for that research.

Tell me about your experience introducing President Spina in October at the “Propel Ohio: Collegiate Leadership Summit 2016.”

Hunter Goodman, the executive director of the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community, asked me to be a part of this project for Propel Ohio; I was very very interested to say the least. It opened my eyes to a lot of different issues going on in Ohio and the way different universities are trying to solve those issues. Introducing President Spina was awesome as well. I basically said, “I’m up here because we are focusing on this huge problem that's going on in Ohio of child poverty and how we can deter it.” 

Why are you pursuing psychology and human rights as majors?

I originally came in as discover science wanting to go pre-physical therapy because my passion is working with special needs. For the last six years I have worked with individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities. I did not like the math required for pre-physical therapy but I liked the science, so I thought, “All right, I’ll do psychology.” I can do behavioral therapy and something kept telling me to add human rights in there.

What do you plan to do within these two fields?

I want to open a nonprofit that ensures individuals with special needs have their basic human rights in developed and developing countries.

Would you say being a Dayton Civic Scholar is preparing you well for your future endeavors?

Dayton Civic Scholars really focuses on bringing the University to the community. Right now, we are looking at working with the Edgemont neighborhood, which is across the river, and we are looking at creating community gardens. I want to work in development, so I see myself working in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods. Working with Dayton Civic Scholars, you get a better look into what is going on in the community of Dayton. Personally, I think it is an amazing organization and the impact they have had on the people here and the city of Dayton is really awesome to see.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

I’d definitely like to see an internship flourish into a job but if not, maybe go back to Malawi.

- Dawnn Fann '19

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