Jasmine Rodriguez, Business Studies

Jasmine Rodriguez
Jasmine RodriguezSchool of Business

As a Business Studies major with a concentration in Accounting, Jasmine Rodriguez knows the value of the dollar.

Even as she planned to be the first in her family to earn a college degree, the Vineland native had to figure out how to pay for her education.

“Prior to attending Stockton, the price of the university was not something that I had taken into consideration when applying. I did not know how I was going to pay for it,” she said. “All I knew was that I needed to be here.”

Rodriguez found employment as a Residential Assistant and at Stockton’s Tutoring Center to stay afloat. “Working while attending college was an absolute necessity. Financially, my first year of college was rough, but I was able to work and save enough money to get myself through college.”

Despite her own financial hardship, she found time at the start of the pandemic in 2020 to offer free tutoring for youth in grades K-12 who needed help transitioning to online learning. She provided her services through CovEd.org.

Rodriguez also interned for Campaign for Working Families, Inc., a nonprofit organization providing free tax preparation and education to underserved communities and families through students like Rodriguez.

“I was thoroughly intrigued by being able to directly work with individuals on their taxes. I felt as though it would provide me with the opportunity to heighten my customer service skills and become more accustomed to the various tax forms and laws utilized for individuals and entities,” she explained.

The amount of guidance the professors and staff at this university have given me is beyond measure, and I am eternally grateful.

“Initially, I was so consumed with the idea that I did not know anything (about tax preparation), that I did not realize how much I actually did know. I have become significantly more comfortable with communicating and interacting with individuals and have been more knowledgeable about the tax process,” she said.

Rodriguez isn’t just an accountant, she’s a cool accountant. She currently has nine piercings and two tattoos, with no intention of stopping once she goes full-time at VMS, a company that provides individualized accounting services.

“I am hoping to have a few more of each by the end of the summer,” she shared. “How many accountants with tattoos do you know?”

According to Rodriguez, her experience at Stockton has been full of support, which is something she will miss once she completes her studies.

“The amount of guidance the professors and staff at this university have given me is beyond measure, and I am eternally grateful,” she explained. “I will miss just being surrounded by words of encouragement and constant enlightenment. That cannot ever be replaced. This was my home for four years (five, including grad school), and it will hold a special place in my heart.”

As for other first-generation students, Rodriguez has two pieces of advice: seek out assistance when you need it and attend events that allow you to get to know other students like you.

“Sometimes being a first-gen [student] may lead us to believe that we have to handle stress all by ourselves, but there are so many outlets on campus that allow you to breathe. As amazing as being a first-gen is, sometimes you just want to be a student without the burden of feeling like you have to be amazing all of the time,” she said. “Attending events within your major allows you, and your family, to truly grasp the experience at Stockton and get a real sense of community.”