Leonardo Rodriguez is the 2021/22 Mendocino College Student Trustee and was also elected to serve at the state level simultaneously as the student trustee for the California Community College League Board. Rodriguez is a first generation college student and a dreamer who was born in Mexico and migrated to the United States when he was five years old. He is currently working on three majors at Mendocino College: political science, history, and social science. He plans to transfer to Sacramento State University to pursue his bachelor’s degree in political science and will then go on to obtain his master’s degree. Rodriguez plans to do internships in Sacramento so he can meet legislators and work with the community to learn about the problems people in society face.
Rodriguez graduated from Kelseyville High School with a 2.0 gpa and it wasn’t until he began attending Mendocino College that he started to see his true academic potential. He began in the First Year Institute program in Fall 2019 under the guidance of Director Monica Flores.
“Going to Mendocino College allowed me to dream, and to dispel this idea that my [socio-economic] status was a limiting factor to my success. Within the FYI program, under the leadership of Monica Flores, I began believing in myself. I created friends and connections that gave me perspective and inspiration,” said Rodriguez. He adds that having a mentor like Monica Flores, helped show him that people just like himself can grow to become effective leaders.
Rodriguez says his academic success was derailed a bit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but with the help of the Mendocino College staff, especially his counselors Meztli Avina and Brenda Estrada, he made a comeback. He earned a 3.8 gpa and President's List recognition in the Spring of 2021.
Rodriguez says Mendocino College classes sparked curiosity for him, which in turn created an interest to learn. “With curiosity and an interest to learn, I have been able to establish discipline which is necessary for success. This discipline has crossed over into my newest accomplishments, and the opportunities given to me.”
He says the classes that inspired the most curiosity for him were English Composition with Professor Davis and Economics with Professor Lam-Hansard. “If I had not taken English, I would not have established the ability to think of the world critically and to use writing as an extension of my voice or learned that I actually really enjoy philosophy. Economics was easily my favorite class, Professor Lam-Hansard allows lessons to be relevant. If I had not taken these two classes, I would have never realized that though the world is unjust, we have the ability to speak truth to power, and create the future we want to see. The class that is most important to my journey is environmental science with Professor Cardimona. I took it three times before I passed it, but when I finally took the advice I was being given, used the discipline I had been taught, and realized the class was extremely interesting, I grew as a student and aced the class.”