WASHINGTON, PA (December 13, 2021) – Adriana Rodriguez-Ruiz’s career path was founded at W&J, and she credits the College’s strong liberal arts curriculum for connecting her varying interests and helping her launch a career she loves.
For Rodriguez-Ruiz, a proud first-generation 2021 graduate of the Washington & Jefferson College, the liberal arts philosophy bridged her interests in public policy, environmental studies, social justice, and diverse cultures, helping her earn her current internship with the Division of Latin American and the Caribbean of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria. Reporting to the United Nations, the IAEA handles the international planning and execution of nuclear technology to advance economic and social goals. In her year-long internship with the IAEA, Rodriguez-Ruiz handles the project management and public policy facets of the transfer and development of nuclear technology throughout the world.
She credits the range of courses she was able to take at W&J and her professors, for preparing her to take on such a role.
“At W&J, I was encouraged to have a diverse curriculum that spoke to my different interests,” Rodriguez-Ruiz said. “Within the public policy major, I took an urban planning course, in which I did case studies on the impacts of nuclear energy plants on the communities where they are housed.”
She took full advantage of W&J’s numerous travel courses, completing a JayTerm trip to Arizona with Dr. Jason Kilgore and another trip to Costa Rica with Dr. James March. Rodriguez-Ruiz also completed a Magellan project at W&J, traveling to seven different European countries in five weeks to study urban planning.
“I traveled to the US-Mexico border in Arizona with Dr. Kilgore and got to examine immigration through an environmental and social lens,” she said. “With Dr. March, I learned about environmental issues and triumphs in Latin America, and how biodiversity can be preserved through public policy.”
She is also sincerely grateful to her English and history professors, respectively Dr. Carolyn Kyler and Dr. David Kieran, and particularly her first-year seminar professor, Dr. Cory Christenson of the physics department, for his help in securing the internship. Dr. Christenson introduced her to a colleague from the US Department of Energy, who mentored Rodriguez-Ruiz in researching and applying for the position.
“These professors and mentors taught me how to make connections between seemingly unrelated subjects and apply them to the real-world—a lesson I am forever thankful for,” she stated.
When asked what advice she has for prospective and current students, Rodriguez-Ruiz emphasized taking advantage of W&J’s many opportunities.
“Have the confidence to be involved in different areas and departments on campus,” she said. “Explore W&J’s diverse offerings, take advantage of the generous funding opportunities, be a changemaker, and build relationships with students and professors that will surely last long after graduation.”
Rodriguez-Ruiz truly is a next-generation leader as she bridges the gap between science and its impact on global communities. At W&J, future leaders are Founded Here.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.