A self-identified dreamer and traveler, Kevin Rodriguez-Santos is a second-year student at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry and a member of the 2017-18 SCIE Ambassador cohort.
Kevin left his home in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico to attend VCU after he was given a scholarship for diversity that made him feel like a valued member of the VCU community. He was particularly interested in enhancing his education with the clinical experience VCU dental students have beginning their freshman year.
Eager to serve as an advocate for his fellow dental students and other minority students needing support, inclusion and representation, Kevin joined the SCIE Ambassador program.
“I want to leave a legacy for those students who will come after me through VCU,” Kevin said. “I want them to have a better university, a better environment and better opportunities for everyone. I want everyone to feel proud of our alma mater after graduation, to feel included, respected and valued.”
Kevin encourages current and future VCU Health Sciences students to take advantage of the community service and leadership opportunities. While there are health sciences programs all across the nation, it is all about the experience beyond the program he said.
“What makes your experience unique is taking the risks and opportunities our university and community provide in order to become not only a competent health professional but a great human being,” Kevin said.
When Kevin is not in school or studying he enjoys traveling. One of his favorite ways to travel is to get in the car and go somewhere he’s never been before.
“I think what makes me unique is my essence, spirit and dreams. I never ever stop dreaming and accomplishing any dreams I have. Whatever goal I want to accomplish I always work hard for it with the biggest smile, perseverance and willingness to help all of those pursuing the same target,” Kevin said.
He said that while his friends might say he’s a little crazy, they would also say he is an all-around happy and funny person who remains a kid at heart. On a more serious note, Kevin said his friends know that he is always there for them, regardless of distance or destiny.
If his life had a theme song, Kevin says it would be “How Far I’ll Go” by Alessia Cara, a song from the Disney movie Moana.