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Alumni Profile
financial aid. The objective is to enhance
students' academic skills, while increasing
retention, graduation rates, and transfer to
bachelor's-degree programs.
Rojo worked closely with TRIO Advisor Joanne
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.
"And when it was time to transfer to earn
my bachelor's degree, Joanne helped me
through the entire process from filling out
applications to helping with my essays."
Jaber-Gauvin also encouraged Rojo to get
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
get involved."
It was at this meeting that she met another
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."
Rojo went on to appear in many Theater
Department shows, including the musicals
"Chicago" and "Damn Yankees," as well as
two dramatic productions, "Ring Around the
Moon" and "The Rimers of Eldritch."
Under Oster's encouragement, Rojo also served
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.
"Carla doesn't take anything for granted,"
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."
"I learned so much from Karen," said Rojo.
"MCC's Theater Program is the best around.
And Karen really showed us that learning
extends beyond the classroom."
In 2012, Rojo graduated with an associate
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.
Rojo has taken her love of performing and
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.
"A lot of people think this is a very glamorous
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."
Despite her busy schedule, Rojo still finds time
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.
"She made it clear that her path was not
a seamless one, it took longer than four
years, but with the support of so many of the
different services at MCC including TRIO
she was able to graduate and succeed," said
Maria Cunha, Associate Dean.
Rojo also participated in Lowell Women's
Week 2015, moderating a panel discussion,
titled "21st Century Latinas," organized by
Latina Women Moving Forward.
Rojo credits MCC with preparing her
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."
This is the message Rojo hopes will inspire
graduates when she addresses the Class of
2016 as Commencement Speaker and 2016
Distinguished Alumni Award Winner.
"I used to be really embarrassed about my
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.
"And if I can inspire someone in the audience
who was like me, then that's even better."
Tura Linderholm
2016 Commencement
Commencement exercises for the Class of 2016 will be held at
10 a.m. Thursday
May 26
, in Lowell Memorial Auditorium, 50 E. Merrimack St.
This year's Commencement Speaker will be
Carla Rojo
, an MCC alumna and on-air
reporter for Univision Boston. She will also be presented the 2016 Distinguished
Alumni Award.
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