#IncomingElliott: Vicente Rodriguez

Vicente Rodriguez, M.A. International Affairs, Class of 2023, #IncomingElliott Student

Vicente Rodriguez is an incoming graduate student at the Elliott School of International Affairs. He will be working towards an M.A. in International Affairs concentrating in International Security and U.S. Foreign Policy. He received his bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Sonoma State University in 2016. Soon after graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and became a defender in Security Forces. He was fortunate to be stationed at Royal Air Force Alconbury in the United Kingdom and Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California. During his overseas tour, he was tasked with a deployment. He further had the opportunity to travel a total of 15 countries in the European Union, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. Currently, he is a Department Analyst with the county of Mendocino in his hometown of Ukiah, California. Vicente enjoys traveling, basketball, indoor soccer, reading, and great conversations about current events.  

Is your grad program related to your undergrad degree?

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and concentration in Finance and Economics. My grad program is related to my undergrad program in that it serves as a foundation to better understand International Affairs through courses such as International Economics, Macroeconomic Theory, and Money & Banking. The concepts I learned in these courses further solidified my interest in international affairs. Economics in particular has been an asset in helping me understand how the world actually works, as opposed to how we are told it works. I am confident that with my academic background in finance, economics, and my work experience, specifically overseas through the military, I will bring a unique perspective to the discussions and conversations happening at the Elliott School of International Affairs.

What are you most looking forward to about starting your program?

I am on a mission to become a U.S. Ambassador, therefore, I am looking forward to the international diversity, in depth discussions, and the opportunity to listen to experienced and knowledgeable guest speakers. I believe it takes a community to tackle and effectively solve present global challenges. The Elliott School of International Affairs will provide me with leadership training, wisdom from renowned leaders, valuable conversations, and personal development opportunities. It will allow me to collaborate, innovate, and communicate with a community of future leaders, facilitating a collective effort enabling us to confront both current and fast approaching global challenges, such as income disparity. In addition, the network and friendships fostered through the Elliott School of International Affairs will help me build international relationships, which will greatly benefit me in my future pursuits in Foreign Service. My fellow classmates/friends will become an invaluable source of knowledge that will grant me guidance, perspective, confidence, empathy, and humility. These are traits that I believe are fundamental as an Ambassador, empowering me to relate to the diverse communities throughout the globe.

What would you like to have accomplished by the time you finish your program?

By the time I finish my program I want to be able to say that I had great conversations with my peers, professors, and renowned leaders. Such conversations will enable us to have the dialogue that needs to happen in order to address the issues of our time such as income disparity, resource scarcity, new world order politics, international security, and American stability. Academically, I want to gain more in-depth knowledge about the impact international relations will endure due to the instability in both the global financial system and resource scarcity. Professionally, I am on a mission to surround myself with peers and professionals who have the same passion as me, in order to start addressing the issues we have overlooked, the issues manifesting as we speak, and the issues which are imminent. Furthermore, I plan on interning and/or working with intelligence agencies and/or intergovernmental institutions in order to acquire the experience and network that will enable me to reach my professional goals.

Why did you choose to commit to the Elliott School for your graduate program?

There were three main factors that influenced my decision to commit to the Elliott School of International Affairs. First, The George Washington University is a participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program. This program allows military veterans who qualify for G.I. Bill benefits to attend participating universities at little to no cost to the student. Second, the location of The George Washington University and more specifically the Elliott School of International Affairs is second to none. Such a location, in the heart of the District of Columbia, enables students to access plethora of opportunities to intern and/or work with many government agencies, intergovernmental institutions, financial institutions, and law enforcement agencies. Third, the flexibility of this program allows students to choose from a wide selection of courses, which satisfy the many interests that incoming students may have. Furthermore, the program consists of mostly evening courses, which opens the opportunity for students to intern and/or work during the day if they so choose to.

I wish I would have taken a picture of when I…

… saw my parents graduate and earn their General Education Development (GED) diploma. When I was 12 years old my parents had the initiative to prepare themselves through the CAMP program in order to be able to take the exam to earn their GED. At that time, I didn’t fully understand and or appreciate the value of an education. Therefore, to me getting an education was not a big deal. However, at the time, I failed to understand that in Mexico both of my parents did not have the opportunity to even complete high school due to economic barriers, cultural misconceptions, and lack of opportunity. It wasn’t until the local CAMP program provided the opportunity to prepare them and take the exam; it was then that my parents were able to reach such milestone, which to them was something that looked unattainable.  I now better understand and appreciate the power of an education.  The journey that my parents had to endure after living in Mexico, working in the fields, and constantly relocating, made this graduating moment worthy of a photo.


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The #IncomingElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights newly enrolling students to answer common questions posed by prospective and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.