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Alumna returns to campus to serve as director of equity

Whether it’s in the classroom teaching students in Brockton, working in the mentoring program for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, or traveling to Dubai as a member of the US Ambassador Hip Hop and Cultural Exchange program, Jazzmyn Rodrigues’ career goals have always been inspired by one thing: to make a positive difference.

The Bridgewater State University alumna recently brought her passions back to her alma mater to serve as the school’s inaugural director of equity under Human Resources and Talent Management.

“I chose this career path because I strive to make the world a better place, it stems from my own experiences with the education system,” said Rodrigues, who graduated from BSU in 2015.

As a student of color, Rodrigues admits she struggled at times when thrown into a school system that was predominately white.

“I lived in Taunton in the inner city but went to a different school system,” she said. “There was a big contrast between my home and school, they were very different. I had a lot of adverse experiences within the school system.”

After graduating high school, it became important to Rodrigues to learn more about the untold stories of history, and how stories featuring underrepresented populations were being relayed in the classroom.

She had the opportunity to do this at BSU. While earning a degree in communication studies, Rodrigues also pursued an African studies minor, she was a member of the first graduating class to earn this minor.

“Bridgewater gave me so many experiences, but especially as a student of color on campus…I have really fond memories,” she said.

When the opportunity to advance racial justice and equity work at BSU presented itself, Rodrigues knew she had to apply for the job she now holds.

“It’s important for these positions to exist, not just at Bridgewater, but on a wider scale,” she said. “These types of positions haven’t always existed. We know what it’s like when these positions aren’t in place. It’s time to experience what it’s like to have these supports.”

Since her July appointment, Rodrigues has reacclimated herself with the campus through the lens of a staff member versus that of the student she used to be. She’s been reaching out to the BSU community, learning what the climate is, what the expectations are and how she can best contribute.

“I want folks to know who I am, to feel comfortable approaching me and see me as a resource, someone they can talk with,” she said.

Rodrigues plans to offer diversity, equity and inclusion programming for staff and faculty, as well as for employee resource groups, and hopes to create an equity leadership program.

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion isn’t just housed within one department or person,” she said. “It’s for all of us. I want to be able to provide skills, confidence, knowledge, and all of the things people need to take ownership of that leadership on campus.”

It’s a role she’s ready to take on.

“I am thrilled to continue my life’s work of making the world a more just and equitable place for all people, especially in education, and to help BSU advance its racial justice and equity work," Rodrigues said. 

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