Profiles of Hispanics at EPA: Elias Rodríguez
Elias Rodríguez, Public Information Officer,
New York, NY
Question: Where were you born?
Elias Rodríguez: In Manhattan, New York City, NY.
Question: Where did you go to college? What was your major?
Elias Rodríguez: I studied at Hunter College, where I got my bachelor’s in political science. Later I went to Baruch College for a master’s in public administration with a specialty in not-for-profit management.
Question: What brought you to EPA?
Elias Rodríguez: Well, staying connected with my alumni association was key in my coming to EPA. Someone at the alumni association sent me the vacancy notice for a job opening at the agency and encouraged me to apply. Although it was not my intention to join the federal government, since I enjoyed my 20+ year career in the private sector with Time, Inc., I went to the interview with an open mind. I got the position and have been here ever since.
Question: What kind of work do you do at EPA?
Elias Rodríguez: As the bilingual public information officer for Region 2, I speak and write for the agency on matters of air, water, Superfund and other issues. Among my duties, I facilitate interviews between reporters and our technical experts. I’ve represented EPA on news broadcasts for Spanish language media such as Telemundo, Univision and NY 1 Noticias. I’ve also been deployed to support emergency response operations in Puerto Rico and at the Emergency Operations Center in D.C.
Question: What message would you like to send young Latinos who are considering going to college?
Elias Rodríguez: Learn and perfect your Spanish. Actually, being bilingual develops multiple parts of the brain. Furthermore, Spanish is part of our heritage and, above all, it improves your chances in this competitive marketplace. Another piece of advice: Keep an open mind and become more comfortable with change. Know that, unlike the private sector, working at EPA is a mission before it’s a job!