students' academic skills, while increasing
retention, graduation rates, and transfer to
Jaber-Gauvin. "Joanne was the first person to
help me when I walked in the door," she said.
"I was really honest with her and asked her to
help me. She did everything she could.
my bachelor's degree, Joanne helped me
through the entire process from filling out
applications to helping with my essays."
involved on campus. "I've always liked
writing and performing, so I chose to study
communications. And I went to a general
interest meeting for the Theater Department to
mentor, Karen Oster, Chair of the Performing
Arts Department. "I could tell at first that
she was a little bit nervous," said Oster. "But
she suddenly blossomed. She really gained
confidence by having an outlet."
Department shows, including the musicals
"Chicago" and "Damn Yankees," as well as
two dramatic productions, "Ring Around the
Moon" and "The Rimers of Eldritch."
as president of the Performing Arts Club. "She
has a warmth that emanates from her," said
Oster. "Her interaction with others is beautiful
to watch. She makes everyone around her feel
special and feel like they matter.
Oster added. "She takes every opportunity she
gets and puts her whole heart into it. She's a
driven, strong Latina woman who is proud of
her culture and knows what she wants. She's a
wonderful role model for young women."
"MCC's Theater Program is the best around.
And Karen really showed us that learning
extends beyond the classroom."
degree in Communications. Under the
guidance of the TRIO Program, she transferred
to Suffolk University where she earned a
bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism,
minoring in Spanish.
writing from the stage to television. She
currently works at Univision Boston as an
on-air, bilingual reporter for the 6 and
11 p.m. newscasts.
career, but it's not," she said. "I'm a one-man
band. I do everything from chasing down a
lead, to setting up my tripod and camera,
capturing the videos and photos, doing the
interviews, translating sound bites, writing the
story, and producing the piece. It's challenging,
but I love it."
to give back to her community. Earlier this
year, Rojo spoke with Middlesex students in
the Latino Connections Program, telling them
about her educational voyage and career path.
a seamless one, it took longer than four
years, but with the support of so many of the
different services at MCC including TRIO
Maria Cunha, Associate Dean.
Week 2015, moderating a panel discussion,
titled "21st Century Latinas," organized by
Latina Women Moving Forward.
for success. "I'm so proud of my time at
Middlesex," she said. "I learned a skill that
has served me well in life: Never be afraid
to ask for help. The support I received from
both TRIO and my theater family taught me
that I can do anything."
graduates when she addresses the Class of
2016 as Commencement Speaker and 2016
Distinguished Alumni Award Winner.
journey, but I now feel like a lot of people go
through that experience," said Rojo. "I want
the graduating students to know they're not
alone. There will always be a time where you
feel like you're failing, but that doesn't mean
you can't make a change, " she said.
who was like me, then that's even better."
A first-generation college student, Rojo graduated from Middlesex with an associate
degree in Communications in 2012. Under the guidance of MCC's TRIO Student Support