A Calling to Serve
For Talissa J. Rodriguez, the skills she developed as a Communication Arts major and student leader at St. John’s University have proven useful in a field she never expected to enter. “Essentially, I have become a social worker,” she said. “It was not until I graduated that I realized—this is my calling.”
Ms. Rodriguez is a Care Manager at Catholic Guardian Services, a nonprofit funded by the Archdiocese of New York to provide health-related and other services for needy children and families. Working in a clinical-care capacity in the Bronx, NY, Ms. Rodriguez helps children and families in the foster-care system to secure physical and mental health services. “There is a great deal of responsibility. People depend on me,” she said.
My work involves “a good amount of time in the field,” said Ms. Rodriguez. She visits homes, works with public and private school teachers, and consults with physicians. The aim is to help families reduce trips to hospital emergency rooms by helping them to monitor and improve their children’s health. She began her career in 2011 as a Site Monitor/Intake Officer at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
It is a different path from the one she anticipated as an undergraduate at St. John’s. “I thought I would end up in broadcasting,” she said. She even secured internships with two leading urban entertainment companies—Viacom Inc. (BET Network) and Emmis Communications Corporation (Hot 97). Ms. Rodriguez also engaged in service and excelled as a campus leader. Along with helping to raise on-campus awareness about homelessness, she was President of the Student Programming Board; Co-Chair of the Budget and Events Committees of Student Government, Inc.; and Vice President of the Student Government Association at the University’s Manhattan campus, among other positions. These experiential learning experiences forged her leadership and
As a Care Manager, Ms. Rodriguez said, she draws upon the many experiences that shaped her life at St. John’s. She continues to serve the University as well, through her work as Co-Chair for the Service and Events Committees of GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade). “I feel blessed,” she said, “to use my talents and skills to contribute, to give back, on so many levels. That is what St. John’s prepares us to do.”