Jennifer Rodriguez Pena


Oregon State University, Class of 2021

Design and Innovation Management

What is your major and why did you pick this field of study?

My major is Design and Innovation Management with a minor in Business. I specifically chose this field of study because I found the core requirements interesting. Through my major, I was exposed to human centered design which is the type of work I will be pursuing in hopes to empower people, their communities, and address problems of inequity by designing for a social impact.

How do you think being a first-generation student has affected your college experience?

As a first-generation college student and the oldest sibling to pursue higher education, the pressure to succeed can be quite overwhelming. I was fortunate enough to be part of the College Assistance Migrant Program which is designed to support students of migrant and seasonal farm worker backgrounds during their first year of college. Through this support program, I found a community on campus which ultimately gave me the confidence to navigate and familiarize myself with student expectations.

What do you love about Oregon State University?

Aside from the social aspect, there are many resources and services that contribute to the success of students. Support programs, student organizations, cultural centers, the courses offered, DAM Jam, our beautiful campus and the human services resources center definitely make Oregon State University worth it. #GOBEAVS

How has the experience of starting somewhere new been for you?

Coming from a small rural town and moving to Corvallis was a huge transition for me. I realized that starting somewhere new essentially means you are growing into a better version of yourself. It allows for us to interact with others of different backgrounds while sharing knowledge with one another based on past experiences.

What does it mean to you to have been chosen as a Renaissance Scholar?

Being chosen as a Renaissance Scholar means that someone believes in me. That someone wants me to overcome the challenges that come with being a first generation college student. As a Renaissance Scholar, it gave me the opportunity to focus on my academics while participating in clubs and events on campus without the constant financial stress. I am truly forever grateful.