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Seizing opportunities as they come sometimes means bumping to Mia Hamm while covering an event for Yackety Yack, or visiting six countries in four weeks with the Burch Fellowship.

Meet Rodrigo's Circle

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Cari and Rodrigo met volunteering for a student body president campaign their first year. Since then, Cari’s interned with the U.N. in Geneva and studied abroad in Australia, making friends with kangaroos along the way.

When not at Craige on R.A. duty, Jared Giles is mostly likely rehearsing the latest number with Kamikaze, a co-ed dance troupe on campus that he co-leads.

Jamey Johnson. Selfless friend. Fellow outdoors enthusiast.

Raleigh McCoy met Rodrigo at Late Night with Roy. Little did they know that they shared a passion for city planning. Now? Inseparable.

Puja Patel and Rodrigo bonded over their mutual love of Harry Potter. Not so much her love of math and science.

If Rodrigo had been born earlier, he may have joined the ranks of Vasco de Gama, Marco Polo, and other world explorers. He isn’t afraid to try new things – like being the first in his family to go to college in the U.S. Born and raised in Mexico City, he moved to Brevard, N.C. in high school. The American college system introduced him to many new things. Like, college dorm door decorations. “When I arrived on campus, I was so confused by the smallest of things. It felt like everyone else knew what college was; I was figuring it out as I went along. Turns out that’s how everyone feels!”

Rodrigo never lost his love of exploring. He loves languages, and takes Mandarin and Russian classes… for fun. He tried out a few majors, ranging from Clinical Lab Science to Anthropology, before finding his fit at the Gillings School of Public Health. While figuring out if photography and journalism would be his fit, he bumped into Mia Hamm while doing a shoot for the Yackety Yack. We know, #NBD.

Last summer, his sense for adventure led him to Europe for a Burch Field Research Seminar on renewable energy and city planning. Six countries, four weeks, and an insane number of great memories. With his love of travel and willingness to try new things, who knows where Rodrigo will go next!

Name: Rodrigo Martinez

Hometown: Brevard, NC

Major: Environmental Health Sciences and Engineering


Resident Advisor and Mentor, Admissions Ambassadors, Yackety Yack, Burch Research Fellowship

Advice to prospective students: "Don't hold back. Be dauntless. Try out your interests and push beyond your comfort zone."

Some people fear it will be like high school – it’s just not. You challenge yourself here and grow with every day spent on campus.