Alumni Spotlight: Marcela Rodriguez-Campo

Jun. 24, 2021

A first-generation college graduate from Cali, Colombia, Dr. Marcela Rodriguez-Campo, found her inspiration in her high school students at Desert Pines and Canyon Springs. “I wanted to help diversify the teacher workforce and train more educators to be culturally responsive to the diverse communities we serve," she said. "My students gave me the courage to believe that someone like me -- a Colombian immigrant, a formerly undocumented person, and woman of color -- could and should have the authority to speak on the issues that impact our communities the most.”

While pursuing her doctoral degree, Marcela worked as a graduate teaching assistant for the Department of Teaching & Learning, training pre-service teachers in multicultural education. "We have been able to share such special moments, including students performing music in class, performing poetry, laughing a lot, painting together, sharing about our lives, and dreaming up what our future classrooms will look like,” she said. 

Although higher education experience deepened her knowledge, Marcela's core relationship-focused approach only became stronger. "It is a part of me that I inherited from my family, from my Colombian culture, a form of magical realism translated into scholarship. While the world might not always see the beauty and richness of this worldview, I always will because it has enabled me to conduct research that blurs lines and breaks boundaries so that we can create more humanizing experiences for the communities we work with,” she said.

She encourages her cohorts in the College of Education to remain open to opportunities as they progress through their academic program. "Be open to what each experience has to teach you. Some will be good, some may not be as fun, but nonetheless each thing has the potential to teach you something new about yourself." So, take risks and just may surprise yourself. “

By Haven Neiman