Rodriguez is currently using the quantitative skills he gained at Harris to co-develop data analysis with the nonprofit StriveTogether.
Adrian Rodriguez, Headshot
Adrian Rodriguez

While growing up in Tijuana, Mexico, a factory boom provided jobs for Adrian Rodriguez, MA’19 and many of his peers. Rodriguez, however, always knew that he wanted to go to school and be involved in politics. After earning a law degree, Rodriguez moved to Chicago to work in International Relations for the Consulate of Mexico. Though he moved around a bit—first to Fresno, CA to continue working for the consulate there, and then back to Chicago to gain private-sector experience as an analyst for Keno Kozie—he eventually made his way back to the Consulate General of Mexico: “I can’t stay away from public policy. I need to be involved in the community and in politics.”

While there, Rodriguez joined the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy Evening Master’s Program (EMP) to sharpen his quantitative skills. “You don’t need to go to school to learn to be a public servant,” he says. “You simply need to understand the needs of constituents. The focus on analysis at Harris was one of the main reasons I chose the Evening Master’s Program over others. Harris teaches you to think with a broader perspective to understand the needs of the community.”

Rodriguez threw himself into the Evening Master’s experience. “There are three things I valued most about my time in the Evening Master’s Program: The academic rigor, the networking, and the travel opportunities. My classes were challenging, interesting, and enlightening. The quantitative focus cut through the proliferation of opinions and got to the facts. And when it came to networking, my classmates all had incredible stories and made great professional and personal contacts. Additionally, through UChicago, I traveled to Jordan, Berlin, and New York. The full immersion helped me learn narratives from new perspectives. My time in the EMP was not just about obtaining a degree: it was a life-changing experience.”

Rodriguez also valued being able to put his new quantitative skills to use at work while still in the program. He and his coworkers at the Mexican Consulate would often receive confidential information from immigration authorities. Looking to sift that data in order to conduct interviews, Rodriguez says, “I thought it would be great if we could collect all the information we gather consistently so we could run a deeper analysis and make decisions based on evidence. Through this analysis we learned about some violations of the Trust Act in Illinois.” Rodriguez and his team expressed their concern to the local authorities and created a policy recommendation to avoid future violations. “My job at the consulate was remarkably improved because of my experience at Harris.”

Since graduating, Rodriguez has moved into a new role as a Data Fellow with StriveTogether, part of the International Innovation Corps at UChicago. At StriveTogether, they are working on analyzing and reporting data in real time through interactive data visualization tools to help support their network of 67 cradle-to-career partnerships across the country—and Rodriguez is helping with multiple parts of this transition. “I would love to take the time with this fellowship opportunity to use all the toolkits I learned at Harris in a full capacity. In a couple of years, I am hoping to work towards a PhD and get involved in international policy and eventually return to the US-Mexico border to help policymakers understand the social impact of economic policies.”

Rodriguez has worked hard to honor his commitment to public service, and this is evident in his work experience and how he describes what motivates him: “This is our time. This is our life—our only chance to exist and make a difference—and we have to make it count.”