Since graduating in May 2015, Belén Rodriguez ’15 has been selected as one of Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 30 under 30—the youngest recipient of the award—and has been profiled by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She’s attracted this worthy attention as a result of her work with Missionaries of Charity, Missionaries of the Poor, and the Teletón Foundation.
At Oglethorpe, Belén was a Civic Engagement Scholar and majored in Biopsychology, with a minor in Sociology. Since graduating, she has worked with various missionaries, and is now a community healthcare educator with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Belén has been accepted to Georgetown University’s Global Health Program, where she plans to obtain her master’s degree and then pursue her dream of attending medical school.Through her work, Belén has visited rural communities in Mexico, Costa Rica and Jamaica to help improve basic first aid, nutrition and mental health. Bélen evaluates and identifies health needs and develops simple strategies to improve health in those communities. She’s found that implementing healthy habits is not just about teaching people what to eat and how to eat it, but also about helping to ensure they have access to those types of foods.
“When I was in Mexico, we wanted to implement healthier meals for a community, but they didn’t have access to the proper foods and vegetables,” she explained. “We were able to obtain government subsidies for that community. Now, once a week, a market that sells fruits and vegetables goes to the town and the people are eating healthier because of it. That particular community was lucky, because not all that communities get government subsidies, and that can be challenging.”
Belén says that attending Oglethorpe, and the resulting opportunities have been key to her success. Her liberal arts education, she says, has allowed her to hold conversations that have opened doors for her. During summer 2014, she was encouraged to intern with the Teletón Foundation in Mexico, which ultimately led her to her current position.
Oglethorpe also has helped her to network within her field, and make the connections necessary to move ahead, she says. “Nick Spates nominated me for the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 30 under 30, and I had no idea.” Belén was paired with mentor Nick Spates through Oglethorpe’s Rotaract Club, of which Belén served as President last year. Belén also earned the Buckhead Rotary Club’s Otis Jackson Scholarship, a merit-based scholarship at Oglethorpe that evaluates academic achievement, character and leadership.