Rodger J. Pinto is a student of Political Science and Public Affairs at Indiana University South Bend. From 2008-2014 he served as an infantry paratrooper in the United States Army's 1st Special Troops Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, completing combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Through his experience working with NATO allies and Afghani and Iraqi partners, Rodger developed a passion for government and public policy. Rodger considers his time directing substance abuse and suicide prevention counseling programs for soldiers returning from combat tours his most rewarding military experience. Rodger serves as President of the Student Veterans of America at Indiana University South Bend acting as an advocate for student veterans and their families. As a member of the IU South Bend Student Government Association, Rodger strives to provide a voice for all students in campus and community affairs. Through his work as Lead Intern with the American Democracy Project, Rodger organizes and supports public engagement projects, candidate forums, deliberative dialogues, and political participation throughout northern Indiana. As an organizer, advocate, and discussion facilitator, Rodger provides a respected voice for change. Upon completion of a Master of Public Affairs, Rodger plans to attend law school and return to public service.
Public service and civic engagement have been key to my identity from a very early age. Beginning with my earliest experiences volunteering with family and as a Boy Scout, public service has provided the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. As a young adult, I pursued public service in the U.S. Army for six and a half years and as a volunteer firefighter. Following military service, I have approached public service through the lens of advocacy and policy. I have become an advocate for student veterans serving as the President of the Indiana University Student Veterans of America and establishing a Veteran and Family Relief Scholarship. I believe that the greatest challenges facing society will be solved through deliberative dialogue and collaborative decision-making. It is critical for public officials to communicate regularly with the people they are elected to serve. It is this belief that lead me to serve with the American Democracy Project hosting events, moderating deliberative dialogues, bringing elected officials to campus, and writing successful grant proposals to engage students in electoral politics and create opportunities for deliberative dialogue regarding critical issues facing our community. Service allows me to combine passion with purpose.