A Heart for Others: Cooke Scholar Gabriela Rodriguez
No one will ever say that Gabriela Rodriguez isn’t thinking big. With dreams of attending medical school and someday becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon, she is looking to change and save lives. As she works to complete her bachelor’s degree at University of Miami with the help of the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, she is getting closer to achieving her dreams.
In addition to her passion for medicine, she is an avid dancer and has a heart for volunteering. She began dancing when she was only six years old, and she’s found a way to combine her passions by becoming a volunteer dance instructor at a studio in Miami. She tries to go beyond teaching dance techniques to the children in her class in an attempt to teach them lifelong lessons.
“I concentrate on what teamwork consists of,” she said of what she aims to impart in her classes. “I focus on teaching them friendly and healthy competition, I teach them that it’s okay to fail, to be last, to fall and get hurt. I teach them the importance of getting back up after you’ve been defeated.”
Gabriela will receive up to $40,000 per year for up to three years of study to complete her bachelor’s degree, along with opportunities for internships, study abroad, and graduate school funding. She has also fully embraced the thriving community of Cooke Scholars.
“I don’t think there are enough words to express how grateful I am to be part of this family,” she said of becoming a Cooke Scholar. “It has impacted my life in a way that nothing else has. Not only am I able to continue my education without placing a financial burden on myself and my parents, but I am also able to be a part of an extraordinary, talented, and hard-working group of scholars who are driven by their passion of making themselves and the world better.”