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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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Eduardo Rodriguez '09

Hometown: Pehuajo, Argentina

Majors: Business Administration, Human Capabilities and Poverty Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Traveller: Designated driver since freshman year
  • Tucker Multimedia Center (TMC): Student Technical Assistant
  • RA for upperclassmen (2008-09)
  • RA for first year students (2007-08)
  • Center for International Education (occasional work study)

Off-Campus Experiences:
Interned with a microfinance organization in Bolivia (summer 2008). This was to fulfill the Shepherd poverty program internship requirement. It also served as a perfect match between my major and the poverty program.

Study abroad: Constantly! I'm an international student. Born and raised in Argentina, but finished high school at the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales, U.K. and now at W&L

Post-Graduation Plans: Currently unknown, but pursuing several projects. I'm applying to jobs in non-profits in the U.S. and abroad. Short term, I would like to work with NGOs that deal with economic development or entrepreneurship either in the U.S. or abroad. I am very open to a lot of opportunities and there are a lot of potential jobs that fit my areas of interest.
Long term, I want to go back to school for an MBA in international business or international development and establish my own non-profit NGO to work with communities with low resources and the businesses that operate in those areas.

Favorite W&L Memory: I don't have one in particular, but the best ones are the ones that have to do with friends and random situations. I am definitely a "people" person and this is the main thing I am taking away from my experience at W&L. The people that I've met and the experiences I shared with them.

Favorite Class: POL 215. International development with Professor Tyler Dickovick OR Business Capstone class on International Management with Professor Anne-Mette Christiansen. Other favorite classes that must be mentioned--photography classes with Professor Hinely.

Favorite W&L Activity: working at the TMC is definitely one of my favorite activities at W&L. Professor Kuettner (aka, Zee Boss) is a great character, and the type of work we assistants do at the TMC is also one of my passions. I love integrating technology into the most diverse and random aspects of life.

Favorite Campus Landmark: The back-campus, by the river. It isn't really a landmark, but it is THE place to get a nice retreat every now and then.

As a young student, I always placed a high value on my personal independence. While attending school in Argentina, I pursued several opportunities to engage in cultural exchanges and study abroad programs, none of which was successful until I applied for a scholarship to pursue the IB (International Baccalaureate) in the United Kingdom during my senior year.

The United World College of the Atlantic is an international boarding school in Wales where students of about 70 different nationalities study to prepare for the IB diploma. The school is small, extremely diverse and established in rural Wales. The combination of these factors made the experience an unforgettable one, and helped me determine what type of school I wanted to attend to further my education. Fortunately, Washington and Lee is one of the many American universities that takes part in the Davis Scholars Program, a fund that provides need-based scholarships to students who graduate for UWC schools around the world.

While it was intimidating to be an international student during my first year, I am convinced that W&L was the right choice for me. The Center for International Education was always helpful and assisted me with any issue I had. From preparing tax forms to assisting with homesickness, Amy (the international student advisor) was there to help out. The professors at W&L also demonstrated an understanding of how difficult it can be for an international student to adapt to college life. With the rigorous academics at W&L, it is easy to fall behind if one doesn't know how to keep the pace; however, most faculty members are understanding and very much aware of the individual circumstances of each student. Finally, the wide variety of courses offered here sparked my curiosity in many ways, and opened my mind to disciplines I had not heard of before.

At Washington and Lee I have been able to integrate into the community very easily and take advantage of the opportunities it provides. Last summer I spent two months as a consulting intern at a small microfinance NGO in Bolivia. I was able to put into practice a lot of the knowledge gained in the classroom for the benefit of the organization and its clients-local artisans. A friend and I entirely redesigned their product portfolio and developed programs to make our proposal sustainable upon our departure. In addition to contributing to the financial aspect of the organization, I was able to improve the way in which they worked by implementing a lot of the IT knowledge I gained from working in W&L's language lab, the TMC. The experience proved to me that this was the kind of career path I'd like to pursue after graduation.

More recently, I've been able to successfully combine my ideals, my W&L education and my career goals to win a grant from 100 Projects for Peace. I will use the $10,000 award to build a language laboratory in my hometown in Argentina beginning this summer, with a goal of improving foreign language learning experiences for members of the community.

Undoubtedly, most of my achievements have been possible due to the combination resources available at W&L. If a student wants to pursue a goal, the university will most likely be able to provide the means to ensure that goal is achieved. That's what being a student a W&L is like.