Eduardo Rodriguez
Reformed Church in America leadership and local missional engagement specialist, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Eduardo Rodriguez

Engaged in mission

Before joining the Reformed Church in America as leadership and local missional engagement specialist, Eduardo served with Justice for All, a Christian ministry that partners with local churches to serve under-resourced communities and neighborhoods. He is an experienced mentor who has a heart for Latino youth because, he says, "I could have used a mentor to invest in me when I was growing up."

Why did you decide to attend Northwestern?

Growing up in Orange City, I’d always heard a lot of great things about Northwestern, which was what attracted me to it. I’m also really close to my family, so attending school near them was important to me. But it wasn’t until I visited that I really felt like Northwestern was the best choice for me. I liked the smaller college feel where I would be able to invest in co-curricular activities, be involved in dorm life, and develop incredible friendships. I really appreciated the small class sizes and being able to talk with and know my professors.

What were highlights during your years at NWC?

I did a little bit of improv in high school, so my sophomore year I mustered up the courage to try out for Northwestern’s improv company, Black V, and was chosen to join the team. Once you’re in Black V, you’re a member forever. It was probably one of my favorite co-curricular activities. The group definitely felt more like a family than a team. I was also the vice president of the International Club, and that was awesome being able to have such a diverse group of friends and perspectives in one room and learning from one another.

Why did you choose sociology for your major?

I’ve always been a people person. I really care about people, so my sociology major helped me understand them more—how to work with them and how to be part of my community in a way that I can positively impact it. My favorite class was Social Problems, which focused on the root of the major challenges and problems our country has, whether it’s racism, poverty, or any of those big issues. That class really challenged and spurred me on to where I am today, which is helping people realize it’s important to be involved in their community and be good neighbors and love people. It really gave me a passion to be part of change.

In what other ways did Northwestern make a difference in your life?

Before college I didn’t have much of a faith. I didn’t grow up in a church or grow up going to youth group. That’s another reason I wanted to go to Northwestern: to develop and grow in my faith, and I was able to do that through relationships. People cared enough about me to invest in me, challenge and guide me, and show me what it means to follow Jesus.

What has been your journey to your current position?

When I was an undergraduate, one of my professors told me about an internship opportunity with the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). I contacted them, applied and worked as an intern at their Chicago headquarters for a year and a half after graduation, helping to organize their annual national conference. CCDA is a pretty big organization and well recognized. It was definitely a great part of my experience and my résumé. It really helped demonstrate that I was serious about development work and that I had some knowledge about the field.