PCC grad introduces First Lady at scholarship event

Pueblo Community College graduate Brionna Rodas got to make the introduction of a lifetime in March at the Latin American Education Foundation gala in Denver.

Rodas, a recipient of LAEF scholarships, introduced First Lady Jill Biden, the guest speaker for the event. Biden is perhaps the country’s best-known advocate for community colleges. She began teaching English and writing at Northern Virginia Community College in 2009 and continues to do so. 

For Rodas, a first-generation college student, the honor was almost overwhelming.

"If I could tell younger Brionna that she would get to introduce our amazing guest speaker this evening, she would not believe me," Rodas said in her speech.

Rodas currently attends Colorado State University Pueblo to earn a bachelor’s degree in English education. She was selected from a group of nearly 2,000 students to introduce the first lady, according to an April 1 article in The Pueblo Chieftain.

Rodas told The Chieftain she moved to Colorado from Florida in 2017, eventually moving from Denver to Pueblo and enrolling at PCC. 

“As a nontraditional student, I was so hesitant to (enroll). I wasn’t sure if higher education was for me or not,” she said in her speech. “I took the leap. I enrolled anyway.” 

Thanks to encouragement from her instructors, she nurtured a love of writing and discovered her own teaching skills, which led her to pursue a career in education.

She expects to graduate from CSU Pueblo this fall and plans to stay in Pueblo to teach middle school.

"Here is where I found myself," Rodas told the Chieftain. "I am just so grateful for Pueblo and what it has given to me. All I hope is just that one day I can give as much back to it.”