There are a few really substantial awards available for local community college students that can help them achieve their goals when they move on to one of the state universities. And who could be more deserving that someone who has overcome the challenges of moving to a new country and learning a new language?
Every year, the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society opens its scholarship applications to outstanding Arizona community college students. This year, Arizona Western College nominated three students for the All-Arizona Academic Team. One of those recipients is Jakelline Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, graduated from AWC with a major in Informatics, with an emphasis on software development. She is currently enrolled at Yuma branch of the University of Arizona.
“I decided to study that because I will be learning every second,” Rodriguez said. “Technology is developing new things every moment.”
The All-Arizona scholarship will provide full tuition for her education at U of A. Other scholarships that Rodriguez has earned are the “Gear Up” scholarship through her high school program, the “Earn to Learn” college scholarship and a transfer scholarship from U of A.
Ironically, Rodriguez studies the field of applied computing but admits she struggles with managing technology. Her goal of developing her own software comes from her desire to help facilitate the use of technology for other people like her.
“The first thing, for me, is to create a software easier to use,” she says.
Aside from developing a software, she continues to seek other ways in which she can help her community. Rodriguez comes from a small town in Mexicali, Baja California, Mex. She had to travel at least one hour to a different town in order to attend middle school and high school.
“After I graduate and work a lot, I am planning to give money to my high school, build a middle school in my town and create scholarships for people like me,” Rodriguez said.
At the age of 16, she came to the U.S. with no knowledge of English. Although she was halfway done with high school in Mexico, she had to start all over again when she moved to Arizona. Rodriguez, being the oldest daughter, took on the challenge of learning the language to help her family.
Today, Rodriguez works as a peer mentor at San Luis High School and AWC. The ability to help others comes naturally to her. She helps high school seniors apply for scholarships and notifies them of financial opportunities.
“I realize that people like me who struggle with resources for their education are the ones that try everything to continue studying,” Rodriguez says.
Besides attending school and working two jobs, Rodriguez is also a member of the ComYOUnity service club at AWC. In between classes and her extracurricular activities, she also must attend meetings for her scholarships. Rodriguez is an ideal example of an overachieving student who challenges herself because she likes the feeling of accomplishment.
“Most of the time I get tired with everything,” she said. “But, if I don’t have a lot of things to do, I get bored.”
Among her many other accomplishments at AWC, Rodriguez has been on the Dean’s List for four consecutive semesters, Student Government Association president, a member of the CommYOUnity Service Club and a peer mentor for the Informatics program, according to a Feb. 26 news item on the AWC web site.
Rodriguez is setting an example for all members of the community, and no artificial boundary will stop her from achieving her goals.