Liliana Rodriguez selected as 2019 Graduate Division Commencement Speaker

by Graduate Division Staff
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 2:00 PM

Liliana RodriguezCongratulations to Liliana Rodriguez, a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology! Liliana has been selected as our 2019 Graduate Division Commencement Ceremony Student Speaker.

Liliana served as a mentor for the Graduate Scholars Program ​at UC Santa Barbara, while also working as a teaching assistant ​in the Sociology Department and as an instructor at Santa Barbara City College. In 2017, Liliana received the Graduate Division Dissertation Fellowship Award.

“Everyone I have come into contact with here at UCSB, they know that I see them as mentors,” she said. “I hope to one day provide that to future students that I work with.”

Liliana’s graduate research at UCSB covers immigration, race/ethnicity, assimilation, and integration. Her research on the impact of the current political climate on immigrant youth was inspired by mentorship experiences with high school students. “I wanted to learn more about their experiences,” she said. “Before they came to the United States, they had no idea about the brutal political climate that was going to confront them.”

When Liliana kicked off her graduate education journey here at UCSB, she was also starting a family. “When I was applying to graduate school, I was pregnant,” she recalled. “I was looking for an institution that was family-friendly and also a community we could see ourselves growing in all aspects. UCSB had all that to offer us.” 

Liliana will be returning to her home state to pursue a tenure-track position as assistant professor in the Sociology Department of Texas A&M University-Kingsville. As she embarks on the next step of her professional career, she hopes her work continues to help build a better world for future generations.

“My inspiration for doing what I do, for never giving up, are my two little blessings that came to give meaning to my life,” she said. “My little girls are the reason I remain optimistic. I know there is hope for a better future because of them.”

Celebrate Liliana and all our amazing graduates at the UCSB Graduate Division Commencement Ceremony on Friday, June 14, 1 p.m. on the Commencement Green.