By Melanie Conner, Student and Alumni Affairs Liaison and Roberto Rodriguez, AMU Graduate
As we celebrate APUS’s 30-year anniversary this Friday, June 11th, we want to spotlight an alumnus who has been with us for almost half of our existence: Roberto Rodriguez.
Roberto first came to the United States in 1977 after serving as the Cuban ambassador to Egypt from 1976-1977. As the Cuban ambassador, Roberto was the highest representative of his government in Egypt and had immediate access to all Egyptian officers, including the President and Vice-President. But Roberto hoped to widen his horizons, so he came to the United States to start a new life for himself and his family.
Roberto has now earned three bachelor-level degrees, 50 master-level degrees, and four doctorate-level degrees from stateside and international schools. Of his degrees, he has earned one-fourth of them from American Military University, where he has completed 14 master’s degrees.
Earning 57 Degrees
Roberto earned his first master’s from AMU in 2008, earning a master’s in political science. He continued his studies in a variety of fields, earning more master’s degrees in international relations and conflict resolution (2009), intelligence studies (2010), history (2013), military history (2014), public policy (2016), emergency and disaster management (2018), and criminal justice (2020), to name a few.
Roberto was familiar with AMU because his son had served in the Navy and introduced him to AMU. Taking classes at AMU was Roberto’s first online education experience. He says, “These degrees widened my horizons and have helped me to see the world in a different light.”
He notes that of his 14 degrees, the most challenging was the master’s in space studies (completed in 2011), but Roberto notes that it was an enjoyable academic program. His favorite assignment in this program was a satellite challenge, where he had to successfully transfer a pizza in space.
As a perpetual student, Roberto enjoys new possibilities and opportunities, including the future of his work at Homestead Road.
Helping Clients and Working from Home
Since 2006, Roberto is a minority owner in a little company he helped to establish with two business partners, Homestead Road. Homestead Road is a company that buys houses as is and flips the houses to sell them.
As co-owner, Roberto also serves as a board member and an active advisor. He offers his expertise to clients and staff, and he also acts as a real estate broker and maintains residential construction licenses.
Homestead Road is in Minnesota, and there are branches in Wisconsin and Florida. The company has about 50 employees, and Roberto observes that the company is profitable, earning over $50 million in sales in 2020.
Roberto says that having attending college online, the transition to working from home was easy. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, he has successfully managed his daily workload while working from home.
Not only does Roberto love to learn, but he also loves to share his knowledge with others. Since 2009, he has been teaching as an unpaid voluntary professor in international law and global affairs at Euclid University. Roberto says that he teaches to highlight diplomacy and share his love for learning, so that he can help others see the world in a different light.
Participating in the University Community
Roberto values the importance of co-curricular activities and is a participant in many student organizations. He’s an active member of the Conscious Capitalism Club, Entrepreneurship Club, the Homeland Security Network, Political Science Scholars, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), Student Veterans of America, the Golden Key Honour Society, Pi Gamma Mu, Sigma Iota Rho, and the Socratic Philosophical Honor Society.
Roberto enjoys these organizations and says that they keep discussions alive about many important topics and are a way to meet and interact with people who share similar interests.
He is listed in the Wall of Tolerance in Montgomery, Alabama, for “honoring those who are taking a personal, public stand against hate, injustice and intolerance, and who are leading the way toward a more just America.” Roberto shares that he has been active in a variety of human rights organizations teaching tolerance among diverse populations.
In looking to the future, Roberto plans to continue his studies in fields that interest him, and he is considering a master’s in psychology or a master’s in sociology at AMU. He says, “Both degrees help us understand the human condition and thus help understand ourselves and others.”
According to Roberto, his greatest accomplishments are his two kids, his Ph.D. degrees and his success. He highlights that “coming to the United States as an ambassador was the best decision for me back in 1977.”
How does Roberto manage to complete his coursework with his co-curricular activities, his job, and his family? He says, “I keep track of my weekly to-do list, including weekly assignments, using an Excel sheet.
He notes that his family is essential and has the highest priority, but he highlights the importance of persevering: “If anyone is struggling with a course, keep persevering. I don’t concern myself with grades and instead focuses on my efforts, and in the end, everything will be okay.”
Roberto shares some words of wisdom to his peers and to younger students, saying, “Keep pursuing your dreams and never quit. Even the most ambitious objectives can be achieved one day at a time.”