Amanda Rodriguez

Degree: Master of Science in Higher Education Administration

College/School: School of Education and Human Development, College of Arts, Science & Education

Disability comes in all shapes and forms. Amanda Rodriguez is working to make the lives of those with disabilities easier. Her passion is personal. Her father was a camp counselor for kids with disabilities and her mother worked with special education students.

Amanda left Miami to attend college in Connecticut. Working three jobs and juggling school work, she felt exhausted and started to get migraines. She started seeing shadows and also developed strange spasms in her body. Doctors couldn't diagnose the symptoms. Turns out, they were signs of a stroke.

In 2014, Amanda had two strokes simultaneously. In the hospital, she was diagnosed with Dr. Hughes syndrome, an autoimmune condition that affects the way blood cells clot. She returned to Miami and was admitted to Jackson Memorial. She learned she had Lupus, as well as three other autoimmune diseases.

Despite these challenges, Amanda wanted to continue her studies. She transferred to FIU and started volunteering at FIU’s Disability Resource Center (DRC) and FIU Embrace. At DRC, Amanda was a part of an initiative to enhance accessibility on campus for students with disabilities.

At FIU, Amanda also reconnected with a high school friend and it was love at first sight. Today, they are engaged and planning on growing their family.

Amanda is looking toward the future, not looking back. After graduation, Amanda will continue volunteering to provide her knowledge, expertise and experience and dreams of working for FIU’s DRC.

By Nathalie Medina,
Junior Account Manager
College of Arts, Sciences & Education