Gabriella Rodriguez, a junior double major in Sociology and Language & Culture Studies (Spanish concentration), is an exceptional student dedicated to inclusion and social justice, a respected leader among her peers, and a role model for engagement, not only at Millersville University, but in the greater Lancaster County community as well. Gabriella, a first-generation college student, serves as an orientation leader and the public relations chair for the First Gems organization - demonstrating her commitment to promoting a sense of community, student success, and engagement at the university. Gabriella is also strongly motivated to address public problems, taking a leadership role as an officer in the University’s student NAACP chapter and the first-year student peer mentoring program. Her bilingual skills give her the ability to advocate for our local Latinx community. She is passionate about equity and supporting first generation students Gabriella exemplifies excellent leadership skills and engages in collaborative action with others from campus and the surrounding community in order to create long-term social change.
I hold many identities, and as a first-generation Latinx college student, my passions have always revolved around social justice and inclusion. I’ve always wanted to be an advocate for students of color, especially first-generation students of color. Being a first-gen student can be a very difficult experience, carrying the weight of higher education all on your own and so I’m proud to be a leader of First Gems, an organization on campus that supports and creates community for first-generation students. Through my participation in other amazing organizations like NAACP, the Millersville University orientation team and the first year student peer mentorship program, Millersville Mentor Collective, I’ve been able to connect with students of color and help build community and inclusion on campus. Everyday, I strive to help students find their place at Millersville and feel a sense of belonging, at a school that wants to celebrate their accomplishments. My work is nowhere near done, I hope to continue cultivating my passions into a career in public policy to continue to address inequalities and social issues.