Rubi Rodriguez Bobadilla
Blue Review All Access: Long-Vanderburg Scholar on pace to become international physician
Rodriguez is a Long-Vanderburg (LV) Scholar, but it doesn't stop there. She is a Long-Vanderburg Mentor, Leighty Science Scholar, a member of the Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) National Biological Honor Society and Alpha Lambda Honor Society, the secretary of TriBeta, and the president of the Latin American Student Organization (LASO). The Long-Vanderburg Scholars program was founded in the name of Millikin's first two African-American graduates, Fred Long and Marian Vanderburg. It is a signature program for underrepresented students who are interested in having foundational conversations about social justice, diversity and inclusion. It's being an LV Scholar that has helped Rodriguez find her identity.
"I'm finding my own sense of leadership and ways to not only help myself in general ways of life, but also help others advance by being an LV Mentor – I can help others find those identities and either come to terms with them or accept them," she says. "All of your different identities make up who you are."
Born in Mexico, Rodriguez grew up in Wauconda, Ill., after moving there when she was six years old. She chose Millikin for its heavy concentration in pre-professional studies with hands-on practices to prepare for medical school, including preparing for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). As a Leighty Science Scholar, Rodriguez is part of an elite group of Millikin science students who have the opportunity to do graduate-level research. Rodriguez took advantage of this opportunity by engaging in a research project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Rodriguez's work focuses on genomic research, which involves the sequencing of fungal genomes. Her research is contributing to an ongoing study through the National Institute of Health (NIH).
Because of Millikin's emphasis on Performance Learning, students at Millikin are able to get out into the field and gain experience right away – something Rodriguez says is incredibly important especially in the area of science. "You're able to see what branches you like. For instance, if I realized I didn't like medicine I might like research better because I've had the opportunity and because of the genuine interactions I've had with the professors," she said.
After graduation, Rodriguez plans to pursue medical school to become an international physician through programs such as Doctors Without Borders, an organization that provides lifesaving medical humanitarian care to people in need around the world. The LV program also played an integral part of this decision because of the opportunities she was given to travel broad and interact with other cultures.