"I like understanding how things work, which is why science is my favorite subject," commented Azaan Rodriquez, a student with aspirations to become an engineer. Since he was little, he was the kid asking the WHY questions. Now a junior, he loves chemistry, physics, and biology because they answer those questions. He noted, “I want to understand how animals interact in the environment, how certain chemicals create reactions, why medicine can cure disease – I like learning how things work.”
Admitting that he carries considerable weight on his shoulders as the only boy in his family, he remarked, “Making my mother and grandmother proud of me is extremely important and motivates a lot of my drive." Living in Mattapan with his mom, grandmother, and two sisters, Azaan is acutely aware of the sacrifices made by his grandparents and mother, who came to the United States from Trinidad. Even when money was tight, his mom sacrificed to send him to St. John Paul ll in Dorchester for his elementary education so he could have the best opportunities.
When choosing a high school, a guidance counselor at Helen Y Davis Leadership Academy recommended Cristo Rey Boston. He noted, "I love how friendly everyone is; my teachers are easy to communicate with.” He found the caring community particularly important during Covid, commenting, "It was extremely isolating, and a difficult way to start high school. With middle school ending abruptly with the shutdown, I was behind when I started in the fall. The teachers made our classes fun and engaging and quickly got me caught up academically."
Azaan enjoyed the Corporate Work Study program but fully comprehended the value this year. He noted, “I requested a placement at a construction or engineering firm for my Corporate Work Study job to gain firsthand experience.” He continued, “Working at PMA Consulting is allowing me the opportunity to get a head start on the construction and engineering field before I begin college.” He continued, "I am that kid who is always drawing buildings in 3D, looking at buildings, and trying to figure out how to build them. Now I will get to experience that directly." As an aspiring engineer, gaining experience in the field will position him for success in college.
Noting that he will be the first in his family to attend college, he wants to model the discipline and perseverance it takes to reach goals for his younger sister. “I want her to stay focused, don’t let anything come between you and your goals – just keep pushing.”
As for college, he is focusing on going away to school. He stated, "college is where I am going to learn to be an adult and discover who I truly am. I am excited by the challenge.”