DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Student Spotlight > Meet Rudy Rodriguez: An aspiring teacher with an 'ACE' up his sleeve
By Christian Saulog /
March 15, 2022 /
Posted in: STUDENT SPOTLIGHT /
Rudy Rodriguez, a sophomore majoring in elementary education and minoring in special education, has one goal in mind – to become the kind of teacher that inspires students.
There was a time, however, when he didn't feel this goal seemed possible and recalls struggling in his first few quarters at DePaul.
“I was once the kind of student to ask why we had to learn basically any given subject," Rodriguez recalls.
Rodriguez reached out to DePaul's Academic Continuity and Engagement in fall 2021 for support and connection, as well as to better his skills in school. Now, he has a greater appreciation for the college experience and is on the path to succeed as an elementary school teacher.
“Rudy has demonstrated immense growth, driven by his determination to become a teacher," says Flor Reza, a student retention specialist in ACE. “He is committed to meeting all his responsibilities."
“Since the beginning I have worked with Flor, and she began to guide me on a path of self-awareness," he says. “I now understand how to do things in my own unique way and focus on the tasks at hand."
Reza's support has come in the form of the search for scholarships, planning for important deadlines and coaching Rodriguez through challenges. Rodriguez now stands ready to put those plans into motion.
“ACE coaches look after DePaul students, especially those who may be soft-spoken or tend to blend into the crowd," Rodriguez adds.
The inspiring energy from Reza, his instructors and other advisors at DePaul have made an impact. Rodriguez has decided to dedicate his career to teaching and now prides himself on paying that inspiration forward however he can.
“The teachers here never do anything halfheartedly," he says. “They let students show their true colors and allow students' skills to shine in the classroom. I want to make sure my future students come in every day feeling they're ready to learn."
Rodriguez is developing a teaching style he wishes he had experienced more during his earlier education years – to teach with as many connections to the 'real world' as possible. He cites his DePaul instructors as the driving force behind this style choice.
“I want to connect each subject with life beyond the classroom and show that no matter what you learn, there is a purpose for it," he says.
Rodriguez also hopes to be the kind of teacher students will remember as a source of support.
“If I hear that I helped them, or that I changed their life, I'm set," Rodriguez says.
Christian Saulog is a student marketing communications assistant in the Division of Student Affairs.