Sheida Rodriguez '16 came to Purchase to prepare for medical school. She chose a liberal arts college over a pre-med program to satisfy her love of languages, Dostoevsky, and dancing the Bachata.
The sophomore biology major wants to be an OB/GYN, but one who's well-rounded and accessible. She's minoring in French, the third language in which she's fluent after English and Spanish, because she wants to get the accent just right. She plans on learning sign language as well so that she can be accessible to non-verbal patients.
Rodriguez will declare a second major this year. Considering her sights are set on medical school, she's mulling over two diverse paths: chemistry or literature. She's developed an avid appreciation of books. "Books are hidden worlds; little by little you discover things about society, history, people's personalities, even yourself," she says.
The more traditional choice, chemistry, is a subject she has always loved. The International Baccalaureate (IB) degree she earned at the Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy International, a public high school in the Bronx, has readily prepared her for science majors. The IB offers an even more rigorous program than the accelerated AP (advanced placement) curriculum.
The availability of dance classes here for non-conservatory students is also a real draw. Both of her parents hail from the Dominican Republic and she loves the dances native to their culture, such as the Bachata.
Rodriguez loaded both semesters freshman year with 21 credits while holding two jobs. She still has two jobs this semester, but is taking a more reasonable 15.5 credits. Whenever she needs inspiration, she just thinks of her mother—a working mom who raised Sheida and her brother on her own while earning her BA and recently her master's degree. "She was a single mother raising two kids in the Bronx. She overcame not only the language barrier, but the economic, social, and every other type of barrier. And now she's becoming a professional herself," she explains.