-- Finds the formula for success through the study of science --
Since her first psychology class at Archbishop Molloy High School, Erica Rodriguez has been passionate about science.
Rodriguez, who is 20 years old, has been since 2007 a Macaulay Honors student at Queens College where she is double-majoring in biology/neuroscience and psychology and has earned a Grade Point Average of 3.5 out of a perfect 4.0. She is also part of the college’s student athletic advisory committee and captain of its swim team.
“I am very determined," Rodriguez says. "I guess that is because of the way I was raised -- I want to be good at everything."
Through Macaulay, she receives full tuition and a laptop computer; last summer she also received a scholarship to study abroad in Athens, Greece.
Rodriguez is currently working as a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow (SURF) at Rockefeller University in Manhattan. She was awarded this internship as part of QC’s MARC U-Star program, which supports minority students in biomedical research. At Rockefeller University, Rodriguez works in the laboratory of renowned neurologist Dr. Fernando Nottebohm, assisting his investigation into the biology of vocal learning and nerve replacement in songbirds.
After graduation next May, Rodriguez plans to pursue a doctorate in neuroscience. Her goal is to become a teacher and researcher in biotechnology, a field that uses biological processes to make medicine and other products such as beer from yeast fermentation.
Born and raised in Kew Gardens, Rodriguez is the daughter of immigrants. Her mother, a native of El Salvador, came to the United States when she was a teenager. Her father was a toddler when he arrived in this country from the Dominican Republic. Today her mother works as a drug rehabilitation counselor, and her father is a salesman for National Grid, the energy delivery company. Rodriguez also has a 14-year-old sister who just graduated from middle school and will be attending Archbishop Molloy High School.
"I feel very close to my family," Rodriguez said. "They understand the value of a college education and want the best for me.”