Assistant professor of community leadership, Mary Rodriguez tells us a little bit about herself for this week’s “Meet the Faculty”:
“I am originally from Texas and living in the MidWest for the first time! I did my undergrad at Texas A&M (2008) and my masters (2010) and PhD (2015) at University of Florida. In between my Masters and PhD, I served in the U.S. Peace Corps from 2010-2012 in Cameroon, West Africa! I loved my time there as an agro-forestry volunteer where I worked with women’s groups and taught at an agricultural technical school. I lived in a village in the North region of Cameroon that had no running water, sometimes had electricity, and spotty cell service.
“I am currently an Assistant Professor of Community Leadership here in the department. I hope to bring more of the community (development) perspective to leadership, Ag education, extension, and communication. I am passionate about learning about people’s food security status in order to work with them to help build more resilient communities. Currently, I am excited to start working with a local Somali Refugee community to learn more about their food security!
“In my personal life, I love to take hikes and walks with my dogs and explore new places! I have a tremendous passion for traveling and learning more about people’s cultures and ways of life! Actually, I am writing this from South Africa where I have gotten to spend the last week or so and looking forward to another week learning more about the various cultures in SA!
“I am a first generation America. My mother is from Columbia and my father from Nicaragua. I spoke Spanish as my first language and then learned English in school. I learned French and a local tribal language during my time in the Peace Corps and consider myself fluent in English & Spanish and conversational/ semi-fluent in French (I need more practice!). I have nearly forgotten all of the tribal language… no one else speaks it! My favorite food is probably pizza, however, I love good Mexican food as well! The most odd thing I have ever eaten was python in Cameroon.“