Rocio Ortiz’s Story of Student Success and Professional Development
by USDA-HSI & SDSU-IV Collaborative Partnership
Student success begins with academic achievement, but it also consists of carving a path that contributes toward career opportunities by building your résumé through networking, volunteering, and internships. Professional development, engagement, and involvement outside of the classroom is what can truly provide interested students with educational experiences and experiential learning opportunities to create a bridge from student success to a career pathway.
In the case of Rocio Ortiz, a senior whom is graduating May 2018 majoring in Public Administration at SDSU-Imperial Valley, on being selected as a student trainee as a junior via the indefinite Pathways Internship Program to become a Loan Specialist with USDA-Rural Development in the Imperial Valley which offers financial programs that support essential public facilities and services such as water and sewer systems, housing, health clinics, emergency service facilities, and telecommunication services. This professional development opportunity will ultimately lead Rocio Ortiz to be eligible for conversion and obtain a permanent position and career pathway with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) after she successfully completes the requirements of the Pathways for Students and Recent Graduates to Federal Careers.
She was able to achieve this through her dedication and commitment within her field of study, along with the various educational and experiential learning experiences that she participated in throughout the duration of her academic studies which started from the time Rocio Ortiz was an incoming freshman at SDSU-Imperial Valley, she began becoming engaged and initially involved in different opportunities that would contribute to her professional development and guide her towards a career in public service.
Rocio Ortiz received a student sponsorship from the USDA to attend the premier Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities 28th Annual Conference held in Denver, Colorado which helped reinforce her educational goals and aspirations, giving her an insight on different opportunities available for post-graduation success through informational workshops and breakout sessions with panels and presentations.
She also volunteered and attained a paid internship through the Water Resources Experiential Learning for USDA Careers being selected by USDA’s Water and Environmental Program in Imperial, California. This was a meaningful experiential learning experience that allowed her to contribute to the improvement and strengthening of the economy and quality of life in the surrounding rural communities.
As a student interested in sustainability, environmental management, and agriculture, Rocio Ortiz also further continued to attend and participate in different educational experiences, including the California State University's Water Resources and Policy Initiative Conference held in Long Beach, California; the Hoover Dam Tour/Sustainable Energy Field Trip to Las Vegas, Nevada; and the Southwest Agriculture Summit held in Yuma, Arizona. In addition, Rocio Ortiz was nationwide selected and sponsored by the Student Diversity Program to attend the world-renowned USDA 93rd Annual Ag Outlook Forum in Arlington, Virginia which provides a platform facilitating conversations on key issues and topics within the agricultural community and includes the Secretary of Agriculture, academic leaders, producers, businesses, policymakers, government officials, and non-governmental organizations.
Throughout her involvement in her field of study and among other enriching opportunities, she also made an effort as a sophomore to be involved on-Campus and was an Ambassador for the Associated Students Council and the Sustainability Committee at SDSU-Imperial Valley.
With the opportunity of learning about agriculture related areas through these personal experiences and inspirational activities, she pursued and was accepted into the Achieve. Inspire. Motivate. – AIM for Law Program at the California Western School of Law in San Diego, California. Rocio Ortiz has become motivated to perhaps study Agricultural Law and practice in a rural area.
She has continued to expose herself to different learning experiences, she has also successfully led herself closer to reaching her goal of being a part of the USDA and helping the rural communities from which she comes from.
Rocio Ortiz’s story is one of student success and professional development, it ultimately demonstrates that student success can be reached through both academic achievement and educational learning experiences outside of the classroom, as her hard work and dedication has surely not gone unnoticed which has ideally created a pathway for her towards a meaningful career, prior to and in advance before her up-coming graduation.