Angie Rodriguez isn’t doing her college career halfway.
While pursuing her dual Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice & Psychology, she’s immersed herself in both her student and scholar worlds throughout her time at UCCS. As a Reisher Scholar, she took on the role of Peer Advocate, communicating with other scholars about how their own classwork is going and acting as a liaison for them. She also had an internship with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and continues to volunteer with them as the El Paso County Supervisor for their Court Monitoring Program, giving her exposure to the criminal justice aspect of her studies while studying related material in her spare time.
“I assist MADD with court data and monitoring, so we attend court cases and see the different sentences handed down and similar data, then fill out forms that get sent to the national database,” said Angie. “MADD uses this information to push legislative changes and to try to update DUI/DWAI traffic laws. I’ve been working on victim impact panels with them too, where we’ll have victims or people who have committed a DUI and injured or killed someone come to these events.”
“The MADD panels and some of my classes, like the cadaver labs in Anatomy, Homicide Investigation and Injury/Death course, have had very heavy content but I’m trying to get as much exposure to it because of the career field I want to go into. I want to make sure I can handle it,” she continued.
Understandable, as Angie’s goal is to be a deputy coroner. She started in pre-med and while she enjoyed much of the work, her interest in psych and anatomy steered her towards a different career goal.
“It’s such important work, and one of those jobs that people don’t think about,” she noted. “Deputy coroners often help with crime scene investigation, taking photos of crime scenes, assisting with autopsies, sometimes even communicating with families of crime victims and that’s partly where psychology comes in.”
Along with her courses, various internships and volunteering, Angie works as a student employee in the Development Office with administration work and the planning, execution and emceeing of scholar events.
“It’s been a very positive and rewarding experience,” said Angie. “I’ve learned the ins and outs of working with financial aid and the scholarship process and benefits. I’ve made a lot of great connections with people that I’m very grateful for and learned so many new skills.”
Out of several events she’s participated in, one she looks back especially fondly on was a Reisher Scholar welcome back gathering.
“One of my favorite events was the welcome back celebration when I first became a Reisher scholar. I got to meet a lot of the other scholars and I felt like I was a part of a community. It was nice to see meet everyone and feel like I belonged somewhere,” Angie recalled.
Another event that allowed Angie to immerse herself in her studies was a study abroad trip in London to learn about criminal justice in the United Kingdom (UK) last May, which included some of her fellow Reisher Scholars.
“It was so exciting, and we learned so much about the UK criminal justice system there and how it influences the American criminal justice system we know today,” said Angie.
As she nears graduation, Angie isn’t certain where her path will take her but is confident it’ll lead to good things and knows she wants to see new areas and continue doing her part in her community.
“I want to go explore and see the world and experience different cultures,” said Angie. “Ultimately, I want to help others, provide resources and make a difference in my community, wherever that is.”
Angie is on track with her goals and had this advice to offer her fellow peers:
“Follow your heart and to be resilient because life can throw some curveballs at you,” Angie added. “Keep pushing through. Martin Luther King said, ‘faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.’ That’s a philosophy I’ve followed my whole life. I can’t see the end right now, but I have faith that it’ll be okay.”
For now, Angie is enjoying the rest of her university career and pursuing her hobbies when she can. She makes her own herbal syrups and tinctures, spends time with her dog, Apollo, and enjoys reading and television – especially when they incorporate criminal justice and psychology.
About the UCCS College of Letters, Arts & Sciences
The College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at UCCS is the university’s largest college, enrolling nearly 6,000 students across 21 departments and programs. The college offers 19 majors and 53 minors in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Students can also choose from five accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degrees, nine full master’s degrees and three Ph.D. degrees, as well as pre-medical and pre-law programs. The mission of the college is to position graduates for success in their personal and professional lives, with a focus on thinking, creating and communicating — skills vital to employers and graduate and professional schools. Learn more about the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at UCCS.
About the UCCS College of Public Service
The UCCS College of Public Service is one of the premier schools of public administration in the Rocky Mountain West. Its relevant and flexible programs prepare students for leadership in the public and nonprofit sectors, including criminal justice and social work. The College of Public Service offers both traditional and accelerated undergraduate and graduate programs, with options to earn dual degrees and graduate certificates. Learn more about the College of Public Service at UCCS.