By Tiffany Contreras
College of the Desert’s Professor Gloria Rodriguez amazes with her culture and story as she shares her life experiences.
Raised in Cathedral City, Rodriguez’s parents encouraged her to continue her education after high school and recognize the limitless opportunities. “My parents grew up very poor in Mexico and didn’t have an education,” explains Rodriguez. “So they always encouraged my brother, sister, and me to go to college and to take advantage of being here in America, where we could get an education.”
After graduating from Cathedral City High School, Rodriguez’s parents’ support encouraged her to attend the University of Southern California, where she challenged herself to double major in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. While at USC, she wrote for her school’s newspaper, The Daily Trojan, and took several Political Science courses to better understand news stories. “I took a lot of classes in world politics and U.S. politics just to make sure that, as a journalist, I would fully understand the stories that I would cover,” she explains as to why she chose to major in Political Science.
Rodriguez graduated USC with two Bachelors degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science with an internship to follow up.
With help from the California Chicano News Media Association and National Association of Hispanic Journalists – organizations that specialize in recognizing and helping Hispanics in the news industry – Rodriguez got her first summer college internship at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, then served summer internships at The Boston Globe and, upon graduation, for the sports department at The New York Times.
Remembering her parents’ advice of living in a limitless country and the importance of education, she went on to earn her Masters degree in Broadcast Journalism at Columbia University, while freelancing at The New York Times. She has also written for The Desert Sun.
Following a family emergency while working at KNWA – the NBC Affiliate in Fayetteville, Arkansas – she returned to her Coachella Valley hometown with continued success. “I actually came back because my mother passed away very suddenly,” she explains. “I was in Arkansas. I worked there for about a month when my mother passed away. I really wanted to come here to be close to my father, and luckily I got the job at KMIR.”
In the course of two years, Rodriguez has spent her time as a morning anchor and had the privilege of covering the Humana Challenge, which allowed her to interview former President Bill Clinton. Previously, she spent four years as a weekend anchor and weekday reporter at KMIR, where she had the opportunity to cover former President Gerald Ford’s death and funeral, as well as interview former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Although she stays busy with her work, she still makes time to honor her mother – who passed away of a sudden heart attack.
Rodriguez has been part of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Luncheon, whose goal is to encourage individuals to improve their lifestyles by being stroke and cardiovascular disease free.
In all of her endeavors, Rodriguez continues her successful journey and strives to influence others to pursue their educational career, and she does so while teaching at COD.
Article published in College of the Desert’s The Chaparral: http://thechaparral.net/2014/03/04/cods-professor-gloria-rodriguez-behind-the-scenes/