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Rosa Brenes Rodriguez with Faculty mentor
February 5, 2020

An Economics Champion with a Bright Future

Rosa Brenes Rodriguez ’20 has come a long way from her home in Santa Cruz, Costa Rica—3,098 miles, in fact. “A lot of people ask me how I found Berry … and I truly believe Berry found me,” Rosa says.

Although Rosa’s high school English teacher first told her about Berry, her journey became a reality when she met Associate Provost and Dean of Academic Services David Slade and Berry students serving as English teaching assistants in local schools through Fundación Progreso Guanacaste, a summer internship in Costa Rica. “He interviewed me and helped me in the application/visa process,” Rosa says.

Once accepted, Rosa packed her bags and arrived ready to immerse herself in all things Berry. Discovering her passion for economics and business, she took advantage of work opportunities on campus. Rosa works as the general manager of Nonprofit Strategic Services, a Berry student enterprise that provides consulting services to non-profits, and is the account assistant and project manager for the Career Center. She is also conducting research with Assistant Professor of Management Eric Kushins, studying savings behavior in generations and focusing on the Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) movement.  

Rosa built professional skills through the Berry Center for Integrity in Leadership (BCIL), a program that grounds students in values and integrity as they prepare to lead after college. As a member of the Marketing and Sales Club, she competed in the International Collegiate Sales Competition and National Collegiate Sports Sales Championship.

Last summer, she sharpened her competitive edge at i-eXponential Camp, an experiential learning camp at the University of Miami created by Biznovator Camp and Cala Enterprises executives. “This camp helped me a lot, and I was able to continue what I learned there at Berry,” Rosa says.

Tasked with creating an innovative business idea that aligned with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, Rosa presented it to investors at the Venture Capital Pitch Competition. She proposed a co-working space for college students in Costa Rica that would provide tools for success, from tutoring and printing to a personalized place to think and create. Of the 22 participants, only three were chosen to receive capital funding. Rosa won first place, receiving $1,000 to start her business idea.

During her time at Berry, Rosa has been mentored by Dean Slade and Assistant Dean of Students Meredith Johnson. Both have supported her academically and personally during her transition from Costa Rica. “Coming to Berry from Costa Rica was a huge change for me, but they made it really smooth,” Rosa explains.

“Rosa has an amazing amount of courage and tenacity,” Dr. Slade says. “It takes a lot of courage to pursue one’s college studies in another country, so far away from family. All college students have their moments of stress and difficulty. Rosa has navigated that with grace and persistence.”

Rosa credits Berry with her significant work experiences, leadership skills and opportunities to attend competitions and conferences. “Berry has provided me long-lasting friends, a huge professional direction and personal growth,” she says. “This has truly been the best four years of my life.”

Written by junior Hannah-Grace Mann

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