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Ethnic Studies College of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies

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Graduating Student of the Year 2023

Meet our 2023 Department of Ethnic Studies Graduating Student of the Year and SSIS Dean’s Award Nominee, Gustavo Rodriguez Roa!

Gustavo Rodriguez Roa

As an openly gay Latino and first-generation college student from immigrant parents, I am proud to share my qualifications with you. I have received three Associates degrees in Ethnic Studies, Social Sciences, and Interdisciplinary Studies in Social and Behavioral Sciences, and I am currently working towards a Bachelor's degree in Ethnic Studies. My academic pursuits have allowed me to develop a deep understanding of the social, cultural, and historical factors that shape our world.

In addition to my academic achievements, I have also been actively involved in extracurricular activities. As a union steward with Local 1000, I have advocated for the rights and well-being of fellow employees, developing valuable skills in advocacy, negotiation, and conflict resolution. Outside of work, I have pursued my passion for dance as a member of a ballet folklorico group for many years. This gustavo-rodriguez-roa-photohas allowed me to express my cultural identity, develop my artistic talents, and work collaboratively with a team of dancers.

Currently, I work for the state of California as an associate government analyst, where I contribute to research, data analysis, and project management efforts. My work has allowed me to hone my analytical skills, gain practical experience in working with diverse stakeholders, and contribute to the public good. I consistently maintain strong verbal and written communication to ensure any message I delivery is clear and concise. I have obtained several certifications of completion for courses of Critical Thinking, Writing Effectively, and Presentation Skills. I have exhibited the ability to effectively collaborate with all levels of staff and management to reach a common while demonstrating my dedication to delivering exceptional work. My leadership competencies include customer focus, developing others and building trust and accountability. I have demonstrated these competencies through providing exceptional customer service and guiding my coworkers while acting in the capacity of the front counter lead. I strive to work with the resources I am provided with and have demonstrated the ability to stay positive, focused, and adaptable to sudden change in a fast-paced working environment. My customer service has reflected the state departments core value which include integrity, accountability, teamwork, customer service, care, respect, communication, and trust. I am confident that my professional background makes me a perfect fit for this position.

As an openly gay Latino, I have faced unique challenges and have learned to navigate them with resilience, compassion, and a commitment to promoting social justice and equality for all. My personal experiences have shaped my perspective and strengthened my ability to connect with people from all walks of life.

Overall, I believe that my diverse background and experiences make me a strong candidate for a wide range of opportunities. I am committed to using my education and experiences to promote equity, inclusivity, and social justice in all areas of my life.