“When I speak, people usually listen. It’s something I’m good at, and I want to use it in a positive way.”
Anna Shaddae Rodriguez 10F has a passion for language. Growing up in the Boston area in a household where Spanish was predominantly spoken, she found herself relied upon for her hard-earned English language proficiency. Constant study (including regularly carrying a dictionary with her) eventually turned into debate team success in high school. At Hampshire, she uses her research and public speaking skills in the study of legal theory and ethnography.
“I’ve always been interested in law, but I didn’t know legal anthropologists existed until I took a class with (legal studies and anthropology professor) Jennifer Hamilton. The two interests sound disjointed, but I found someone whose entire professional work is just that,” said Rodriguez, whose Division II title is “Legal Systems as Producers of Culture”.
Courses with faculty like Hamilton, African American studies professor Christopher Tinson and writing professor Will Ryan have been influential, she said. Rodriguez entered Hampshire as a James Baldwin Scholar, an opportunity that she cherished. Crediting the program with giving her access to the sort of educational opportunities she’d long sought and the financial aid needed to attend Hampshire, Rodriguez noted that the Baldwin Scholar community is an incredibly supportive one.
“There has to be something special going on if, even after the financial benefits of the program are behind you, we all continue to be around each other, do things together, and seek help from each other,” said Rodriguez. “You’re only technically a JB for a year, but you never drop the title.”
Rodriguez added that part of her drive when she arrived at Hampshire was fueled by the fact that she didn’t initially get into the Baldwin Scholars program. It was only after another student declined to attend that she was given a spot.
“I was on a mission to prove that I belonged here. In my dorm room I have my rejection letter hanging up. Next to it is my acceptance letter. Some day I want to hang my diploma with them,” she said, noting that the Hampshire education has lived up to what she hoped it would be. “It makes me really want to do my part to help the program expand. I know what it’s like to not get in.”