Marilyn Rodriguez

When I came to the knowledge that I would have to take a few classes in downtown Phoenix in order to graduate, I was hesitant. Before this year, being an Arizona native and resident, I hadn’t stepped foot into the city of Phoenix for many years in the fear that it was a dirty and crime ridden place. Upon my arrival downtown for my first day of class, I was surprised to see that Phoenix, the place that I thought to be dangerous and blighted, was actually thriving and growing. While riding to class on the city’s new light rail, I looked out its windows too see new condos going up, the construction of a new mixed-use development site, and even a few community gardens! When I got to class, the professor asked us what it was that we wanted to get out of her urban and metropolitan studies course and it was at that point, having just experienced the new Phoenix area, that I told her and my peers that I wanted to be a part of the growing downtown area.
Later on through the semester, after learning much about cities and urban development, I came to realization that there are numerous things that Phoenix needs to do downtown before the city can live up to its potential. For one, the lack of affordable housing is killing the market downtown thus hindering its growth. This lack of affordable housing problem of course leads us to the next, which is the lack of local businesses downtown due to the poor market. Eventually, I came to the realization that there are many problems that could be solved downtown if there were more affordable housing, which brought me to my career goal of working for the HUD to ensure the successful economic future of downtown Phoenix.
The city of Phoenix is a baby compared to other cities, it still has a chance to grow and avoid many of the problems other cities face today. It is my hope that one day I can take my ideas to the public sector and have them heard, so that I can truly be a part of the development of a great city.
My passion for the urban experience cannot be summed up in just a few paragraphs, but it that passion that drives me to the belief that I am a deserving candidate of this scholarship. Scholarship or not, I WILL be the first in my family to graduate college, I WILL pursue a masters in Public Administration, and I WILL find a way into the public sector to make my ideas heard.
Thank you for this opportunity and God Bless!