Catalina Rodriguez is the Director of TRIO Student Support Services at Purdue University Northwest. Catalina Rodriguez has committed her professional career to increasing education for underrepresented students. She is passionate about equity in education and success for first-generation college students. She is committed to the empowerment and advancement of students across various stages of their education and career journey.

Since 2013, Catalina serves as the Director of Student Support Services, a federal TRIO program designed to increase the college retention and graduation rates of low-income, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities. At Purdue University Northwest, 57% of the student population identifies as first-generation college. In addition, she provides support and strategy to Latino based initiatives, specifically through support to Latinocentered student and Greek life organizations.

Prior to this role, she served as the Retention Coordinator for the College Advising Corps at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Two consecutive years she was successfully awarded $250,000 in startup grant funds to pilot a college retention program for high school students transitioning to their freshman year of college. She started as a College Adviser with the organization. She provided college admission and preparation assistance at Springfield Southeast High School in Springfield, Illinois before helping launch the statewide initiative as Retention Coordinator.

She is part of the 2020 cohort of the Leadership Institute, a Northwest Indiana leadership center comprised of professionals from various sectors to address crucial topics facing the Region. She has served as President of Indiana TRIO, Finance Chair of the Educational Opportunity Association, and completed the Princeton University Leadership Institute for College Opportunity Professionals, a partnership with the Council for Opportunity in Education. She is highly engaged in the state, regional, and national TRIO organizations. Catalina received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois at Springfield. She has a Master’s in Education and Instructional Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago. As the child of immigrants and a first-generation college student herself, she understands the power of education access and the doors it opens.

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