Senior Eva Rodriguez, a first-generation student, sits in preparation for her representation of Boise State at the American Association of University Women in Washington D.C. the coming weekend. She will be an advocate for women’s issues, as well as a creative mind for organizing workshops on campus for the women at Boise State. During her preparation, she remembers those who inspired her and those who told her she “can’t.”
Rodriguez is a student from Southern California who came to Boise State because, in her words, “it provides opportunities for political science students that many colleges don’t, like the ability to work in the Capitol.” Rodriguez is a student in the Department of Political Science, graduating a year earlier than her peers i1n her original class. As an undergraduate research assistant for the Foundational Studies program, Rodriguez is highly acclaimed by the department and was even able to earn the departmenr a spot in Focus, the Boise State alumni magazine.
Those around Rodriguez also believe in her ability to apply her experiences to the real world. Dr. Jaclyn Kettler, a third-year academic advisor with a doctorate in Political Science, acclaims Rodriguez’s strenuous work to succeed.
“She works hard, and she’s thoughtful in several ways; she applies material to the real world, (but) she also does a lot to help others,” said Kettler. “Early on, she identified a desire to be in public service. (I have) no doubt that she will succeed, and she is an exemplary student in the School of Public Service.”
As a first-generation student herself, Kettler says she understands the pressure that students need to succeed at the university. She says that at first, Rodriguez “may have doubted what she knew” but she was “always intelligent, so she most likely knew.”
“Women and first-generation students almost always doubt what they know. For Eva, I (have seen) her confidence grow. She is intelligent, thoughtful and engaging,” states Kettler.
As a resident of an urban area, Rodriguez has witnessed firsthand the effect of housing problems on low-income, marginalized communities in Southern California. She strives to earn a Master of Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles or the University of Pennsylvania in an attempt to make a difference within her home community.
“(I want to) get to know the moving parts of the government (because) the best way to be involved in the community is to know the connections you need to make that change,” Rodriguez said.
Both Rodriguez and Kettler said they feel strongly about the potential impact that women make on the community.
“There are many ways to contribute and be a leader, so seek leadership opportunities. Regardless of the outcome, we need leaders that don’t always fit the mold; Eva didn’t fit the mold,” Kettler said.
Rodriguez has no plans on ending her political career. With programs like New Leadership Idaho, a young women’s conference held at Boise State, and the American Association of University Women under her belt, she is more motivated than ever to make a difference in her community and even sees herself coming back to Idaho “at some stage in her life.”
Eva concludes with a piece of advice for young college women:
“You are qualified, more than qualified even, to do the things you want or need to do. You can do it, and you can succeed, although it may not be easy to get there.”