Catalina Rodriguez

Director, TRIO Student Support Services

I was born in Chicago and lived on Grand/Laramie on the northwest side of the city. I would have attended Prosser, but my parents lost their jobs in the city. As a result, they chased a job opportunity three and a half hours south of Chicago. That's how my family set roots in a small college town: Charleston, IL. I then moved to Springfield for college and now live in the south suburbs, Calumet city.

My first job was when I was 14 and worked for the Coles County Fair. It was only for a week and I made $90 for working 25 hours.

I was directing traffic outside in the August heat. It was uncomfortable, but I remember feeling important.

I learned to act confident. Keep your cool in uncomfortable or stressful situations. Give your smile to others!

My first job prepared me for my career because I serve others. From directing traffic to being a receptionist to giving tours at my college to my current role as Director, I am here to serve people. My favorite piece of advice is: Work hard and be kind to others.