Angela Rodriguez de Jesus is the Program Coordinator for the BronxWorks Center for Achieving Future Education (CAFE) Program. Angela was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States when she was seven years old. Like many families, Angela’s came to seek more opportunities, specifically education opportunities, for her and her siblings. It is a story that is so common to the children that grow up in the Bronx, a story that Angela shares with many of her participants in the CAFE Program.
Angela earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Sociology from City College, and she is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Lehman College. She joined BronxWorks in May 2019 as an Education Specialist for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). At the end of the Summer term, Angela joined the CAFE Program as a College Advisor and was promoted to Program Coordinator in June 2021.
We spend so much of our life in school and we spend that time building our character and mentality through the people we meet. For me, that became the setting where I wanted to make an impact and be one of those positive examples for young people growing up today.”
During her tenure with the CAFE Program, Angela worked through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many programs, CAFE paused all in-person programming and switched to a remote and digital curriculum. Angela and one other College Advisor provided all of the workshops to a cohort of 50 participants in 2020. As the pandemic subsided, Angela helped CAFE expand its programming and staff, adding three College Advisors to focus on retention. As the Program Coordinator, she now supervises a team of eight staff working with over 200 enrolled participants year-round.
I was always interested in why people do certain things. In my work, I am able to mesh education and psychology and help people explore their future selves and that’s what I love about CAFE.”
Now in her work preparing students for future education opportunities, Angela is bringing her own story around full-circle. The common ground that she shares with her participants is part of what makes her so effective as a counselor and advisor. Participants can relate to her story and the expectations that she feels as an immigrant and as one of the first members of her family to go to college.
Outside of work, Angela likes to sing karaoke with her friends. Between work and school, she does strength training and also enjoys cooking new recipes from different countries.