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Volunteer Family Highlight: Meet the Rodriguez Family!

Meet Alejandria, Diego, and their daughter, Jenifer, who is a first-generation senior majoring in Industrial Engineering from Morristown, TN. Jenifer is involved in various engineering organizations and serves as an Co-op Ambassador in the Engineering Professional Practice Office. In January 2022, Jenifer will participate in a co-op at Johnson and Johnson’s Target headquarters.

What made your family choose UTK?
When Jenifer was in 7th grade, we came across the engineering summer program at UTK. The deadline to apply was about 2 days away, so we asked Jenifer to write the essay, and when we read her essay we had a good feeling that she was going to get in. We sent the package overnight and it was a big surprise that she made the program. Since then, she applied every year all the way to Hits 11. She’s known since then that she wanted to go to UTK to pursue an engineering career. Now, we are very proud of her, she will be a first-generation University Graduate. I cannot express how proud we are, and very grateful for UTK programs, plus Mr. Griffin has been a great mentor in my daughter education.

What has been the highlight of your Volunteer family experience?
Our highlight has been attending all the events that my daughter has been invited to attend, as well as watching Jenifer successfully juggle student life, social life, and work experience while feeling the pressures of being a female, Hispanic, first-generation engineering student. 

What advice would you give to other families and students?
Check out the university’s websites! There are various programs that are affordable or free to take advantage of for your children’s future. I recently found an event in Eventbrite ” Tomorrow’s Engineers Today” and registered my 11 years old. There are a lot of opportunities to start motivating young middle schoolers to start getting familiarized with the campus and the student’s life.

Family Engagement would love to feature you and your Volunteer family! From first-years to graduate students, we want to highlight our families to learn more about their Volunteer experience. Submit your Volunteer Family Story!