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Camel of the Week: Shelly Rodriguez

Although you probably already know her because of her super friendly personality, meet Shelly Rodriguez!  Shelly is an outgoing and passionate senior who treasures her time spent at Conn but is looking forward to graduating this spring.  Shelly has found an outlet in dance at Conn and recommends everyone take at least one class (but hopefully many more).  She is president of a club whose show has been said to draw one of the largest audiences of any event on campus!  She has also traveled to Vietnam through the Study Away Teach Away program!  Read on to get all the deets on other cool things she has done and plans to do. 
Class Year: 2016

Hometown: Bronx, New York

Major: Sociology

Extracurricular activities: Eclipse President and Unity House Monitor/Affiliate

Can you talk about your experience with Eclipse and being on the exec board? I have been part of Eclipse since my Freshman year; I fell in love with the scene immediately. I came in knowing basic dance moves, not that I am a pro now, but Eclipse has given me this confidence that I did not know I had. Eclipse has been a place that offers me the opportunity to meet different people throughout campus and I think that’s one of the best ways to put yourself out there and make new friends. Being President this year has had its difficulties, but I am working with a fabulous E-board that I can count on for almost anything and I have no doubt in my mind that the show, this year, will be amazing thanks to all their support and ongoing hard work. So, you should all come! It’s April 30th :)


What are some things you have found helpful to balance academics, clubs, jobs, and social life at Conn? Friendsss! I say this because without my close group of friends constantly pushing me and believing in me, I would not be able to find all the courage, determination and hope to do it all. They also keep me in check when I want to go turn up knowing I have tons to do and they say, “Well, girl, don’t you have work to do?” Yeah, they’re like my parent away from home. Besides them, taking time for yourself is also a good thing to do. We tend to lose ourselves when we’re so involved and have so many responsibilities. When you take time for yourself, you have time to figure out what to do next and map out a schedule of the things that need to get done.


You led a protest in the fall demanding equity for students of color at Conn and for people to step outside of their bubbles to understand the experiences of students of color at this predominantly white institution. As we know from numerous studies, stereotype threat can have a detrimental effect on performance in the classroom. What were some of the books you offered as readings that can better inform people about these issues and ultimately improve the environment at Conn? “Yaaasss,” to this question! The books that I recommended (shout outs to my professor Cherise Harris) were White Bound by Matthew Hughey, The White Racial Frame by Joe Feagin, (both White men) and Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum. These are all great reads, and anyone can learn so much from them. Before reading these, even I was clueless on some of the issues. Check them out.


Do you have a favorite class or professor at Conn? Honestly, that is a bit hard to choose. I have built meaningful relationships with many professors here at Conn who have also offered phenomenal courses that I will never forget. I personally think Conn has wonderful professors and I encourage everyone to find that one professor and build a bond with them. Anyway, among those awesome professors my “favorites” are Cherise Harris, Jennifer Rudolph, and Ron Flores. There are no words to describe them honestly, just that I couldn’t have done it without them.


Can you talk about your SATA Vietnam experience? Oh Vietnam, take me back!! It was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. The scenery, the people the FOOD! It was just all around amazing. Before going to Vietnam I never considered it a place for vacation travel (as bad as this may sound, I don’t mean it in an offensive way) people just don’t talk about it, so I wanted to see it for myself. NOW, I highly recommend everyone to save some money and make a trip to Vietnam, you will not regret it.


Favorite place on campus: I would like to say my room, but that’s pretty lame. I would have to say the offices of my professors. Man, the brainstorming, the tears and the life lessons that have gone down in those offices are hours I would never want to take back. I love being able to schedule time to meet one on one with my professors, it’s truly amazing. I have many friends on other campuses that don’t even get an email response from their professors, so I think we are all lucky to have that opportunity to build and grow with them.

As a graduating senior, what advice would you give to underclassmen? Don’t overextend yourself. Take a dance class (or a form of art or something you truly enjoy) every single semester, it will de-stress you in the midst of all the other work you have going on and you’ll actually look forward to going to class.
What do you plan/hope to do post graduation? Among the many things that I hope to do, I plan on becoming a paralegal for a while and going into law school to become a family lawyer. Yup, it’s my passion.
Anything else you’d like to add? I will not say that Conn was the best four years of my life (because I’m still a semi-baby and I have my entire life ahead of me), but it sure was an amazing four years of my life. I will be sad to go because I will not have the opportunity to go knock on my friend’s door when I am totally freaking out or just to talk about random stuff, but I am excited to be graduating. Although fun, it has been a hard four years and I deserve that diploma and my family deserves to be proud of their first college graduate. Yes class of 2016!!


Carolyn Cross is a junior at Connecticut College and is excited to be the Campus Correspondent for the fall! She is a Sociology major and a Psychology minor. She also plays club soccer and is in Habitat for Humanity at Conn.
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