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‘Inspiring Leader’

Magazine Honors Havidán Rodríguez for Motivating STEM Students

President-Elect Havidán Rodríguez talks to Ken Halvorsen, Prash Rangan and Bijan Dey of the RNA Institute during a recent visit to the Uptown campus. (Photo by Carlo de Jesus)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Aug. 21, 2017) — Incoming President Havidán Rodríguez is featured in the September issue of Insight into Diversity as an inspiring leader in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Insight, a print and online higher education magazine, devoted much of the issue to honoring leaders who are encouraging young people to pursue education and careers in STEM fields through teaching, mentoring, research and innovation. “Using the challenges and triumphs they have faced as members of underrepresented groups to motivate themselves and others, they have successfully spearheaded STEM initiatives, engaged in community outreach, and made significant and lasting contributions to their fields as researchers, educators, and advocates,” the magazine wrote.

The profile of Rodríguez notes he has “dedicated his career to leading initiatives that address the same issues he has confronted both personally and professionally. He has led numerous efforts to encourage women and underrepresented minorities to pursue STEM professions, as well as aspire to leadership positions in higher education.”

In June, Rodríguez was named the 20th president of UAlbany, a position he will assume on Sept. 14. He most recently served as founding provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), where he “has been a staunch supporter of enhancing faculty development, scholarship, and teaching in STEM,” the magazine notes.

“As principal investigator on an ADVANCE grant from the National Science Foundation — which places an emphasis on Latinas in STEM — he established the ADVANCE Leadership Institute, Administrative Fellows Program, Associate to Full Professor Program, and the Women’s Faculty Network at UTRGV,” the Insight article continues.

“Rodríguez’s research from field projects in places like Honduras, Sri Lanka, and the Gulf Coast has been used to shape public policy related to human rights and social justice, such as improving warning systems for natural disasters.”

Rodríguez comes to UAlbany with 25 years of experience as a leader in higher education. His own research is on the socio-economic impacts of disasters and the economic well-being of minority populations in the United States and Puerto Rico. He is also a strong advocate for involving undergraduates in research.

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