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Prudential’s Rosauri Rodriguez on the responsibilities and joys of being a child of immigrants and having to create her own path.

By Kara Corridan

April 08, 2022

By Kara Corridan

When she was around 6 years old, Rosauri Rodriguez, now a diversity recruitment partner in Human Resources at Prudential, became the unofficial translator for her family.

Her parents had moved to New York City from the Dominican Republic and didn’t speak English.

“For me, being pulled out for [English as a Second Language] classes meant being separated from the other students and not getting the full school experience,” Rodriguez recalls. “So I wanted to get my siblings on the right track early on.”

Rodriguez’s experience isn’t unusual for a first-generation immigrant, someone whose parents were born outside of the United States. “First-gen” also applies to those who are the first in their family to go to college or the first to have a corporate job. Here’s what it means to Rodriguez: “Being first-gen means being the first one having to figure it out on your own. It’s very hard to understand where to start and how to navigate the world.”

According to the Center for First-generation Student Success, 24% of undergraduate students in 2015-16 had parents with no postsecondary education. These students often must wade through the application and financial aid process on their own. And once they graduate college, if they enter the corporate world, they may feel ill-prepared if they haven’t had family role models to provide the resources and guidance to help them succeed in a professional environment.

In the video below, Rodriguez, who is a board member of the Black Leadership Forum business resource group at Prudential, speaks frankly about how her first-gen status has, at times, made her second-guess herself in the workplace. But she’s come to this conclusion: “Being first-gen has also been a great experience because I’ve been the one to try new things. I’m almost grateful to have this title — and I’ll own it.”

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