Avisinia Rodriguez who serves as the interim assistant dean of student engagement at the Cal State San Bernardino, Palm Desert Campus was honored by the city of Palm Desert at a city council meeting on March 23.

The child of a migrant farmworker, Rodriguez overcame many obstacles to pursue a higher education, but pursued, and not only received a bachelor’s and master’s degree, but also a doctorate degree in educational leadership from CSUSB.

In her current role at the Palm Desert Campus, Rodriguez is involved in all aspects of student engagement. She also started the University Alumni of the Coachella Valley group to connect local college alumni with current PDC students and is active with many valley-wide educational initiatives, including the Gents Leadership Summit with OneFuture Coachella Valley, which brings male high school students to the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus to learn more about college life and career readiness.

Rodriguez knows the importance of giving back to the community and volunteers at the FIND Food Bank, the Indio Rotary Club, the Coachella Valley History Museum and the Women’s Club of Indio. She also encourages students to volunteer in the community as well.

“I grew up in the Coachella Valley and was a first-generation low-income college student,” said Rodriguez. “When I graduated from high school, I had to leave to get a four-year degree because there wasn’t a four-year university in the valley at that time. Now I think about all of the students in the Coachella Valley who have the option of staying here and completing their four-year degree close to home without having to leave – and that makes me very happy.

“My job and the work that I do at PDC is so fulfilling because I know that we’re improving our community and the lives of our students. The students that are graduating from PDC will become successful members of our community. Many will become accountants, teachers, social workers or nurses. The possibilities are endless for students at PDC. I am incredibly grateful to the city of Palm Desert for all it has done to make the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus successful, and I am humbled to receive this recognition,” she said.

“Palm Desert is the Coachella Valley’s home of higher education, and Avisinia Rodriguez is a role model for students at the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus and valley wide,” said Karina Quintanilla, Palm Desert mayor pro tem.

“Palm Desert continues to advocate for CSU Palm Desert, and it is important to recognize the work of the interim assistant dean. Personally, I have seen Dr. Rodriguez work tirelessly, spending time with students, not just creating education plans. She commits to their success so they can believe in themselves. Her dedication and growth within the campus has been key to developing and growing freshman cohorts. She is a woman making history, and I am proud that Palm Desert has accepted my recommendation and proclaimed March 23rd ‘Dr. Avisinia Rodriguez Day,’” she said.

About PDC: The CSUSB Palm Desert Campus offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a doctorate in educational leadership, teaching credentials and certificates. Serving more than 2,200 students, it is the Coachella Valley’s four-year public university and plays a vital role in educating and training the region’s growing population.

For more information about the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, contact Mike Singer in the Office of Strategic Communication at msinger@csusb.edu or (760) 341-2883, ext. 78107, or visit the PDC website at www.csusb.edu/pdc.