First-gen education major looking to make a difference inside and outside the classroom 

May 2, 2024

Douglas Rodriguez, ’24, wants to empower his future students to be successful.  

Douglas Rodriguez, ’24

As a first-generation college student, Douglas Rodriguez, ’24, wants his future students to know anything is possible.  

“I never saw myself graduating from college,” he said. “It feels amazing to accomplish this and set an example for future generations. It’s bigger than me.”  

Originally from Washington, D.C., the secondary education and Spanish major with a history minor set his sights on La Salle because of a recommendation from his high school wrestling coach. He already had experience in the Lasallian school setting, attending both a San Miguel school and Saint John College High School. With La Salle’s supportive enrollment and financial aid office, attending the University became a reality.  

His coach inspired Rodriguez to become a K-12 teacher. He’s found the Education Department at La Salle to be supportive and helpful, providing him with the tools to enter the classroom. He’s also having the opportunity to student-teach within The Philadelphia School District. Teaching a Spanish class of blended grades and cultures provides Rodriguez with real-world career skills. But he also learns from his students who immigrated to Philadelphia from all over the world.  

“It prepares me a lot for what to do after,” he said. “We get to have different experiences from all over the world.”  

“Douglas is a dedicated and passionate individual who has spent a lifetime as a La Salle student, embodying the spirit of academic excellence and community engagement,” said Laura Roy, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Education Department. “Born to a family with roots in El Salvador, Douglas is a proud first-generation graduate who has overcome various challenges to pursue his educational dreams. His commitment to both academics and sports shaped his character and instilled in him a strong work ethic.”  

Rodriguez is an incredibly active La Salle student. He currently works on campus at the IBC Center, is a referee for intramural sports, and is involved in the Global Languages Spanish Honor Society and the history club. As Co-President of The Department of Education La Salle Ed Association, Rodriguez is dedicated to making a difference in education.  

“He is well-prepared to embark on a career that merges his love for language and history with his dedication to shaping young minds,” Roy said.   

Following graduation, Rodiguez hopes to continue to impact the Philadelphia region by finding a role teaching inner-city high school students. He’d also like to become a high school wrestling coach to pay it forward and inspire the next generation.  

It also means a lot to Rodiguez to make his parents proud by receiving a college education. He doesn’t want to be the last.  

“I hope my little brother can be the second one,” he said.  

—Meg Ryan