Giselle Rodriguez

Management 2000
State Outreach Coordinator at Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking (FCAHT)

Currently serving as the state outreach coordinator for the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking (FCAHT) in Tampa, Fla., Giselle Rodriguez ’00 trains individuals to identify and work with adults and minors who are victims of human trafficking. Arriving at FCAHT in 2007, Rodriguez credits her Hodges professors for providing her with the necessary knowledge in business and criminal justice, which has led her to become a successful advocate and leader in her community and throughout the state.

“My education at Hodges University assisted me with seeing the importance of understanding how businesses operate, as well as how the criminal justice system truly works,” said Rodriguez.

When deciding to pursue a bachelor’s degree, the selling point for Rodriguez was the Hodges professors. Learning how to be successful in the field with the help of professors who had the experience, Rodriguez chose to pursue a management degree with an emphasis in criminal justice. Looking to her professors for mentorship and insight, it was Dr. Gene Landrum and Dr. K. Jack Breiden who made the biggest impacts.

“Dr. Landrum taught me not only about running your own successful company, but he taught me the value of a person’s childhood. I saw the commonalities many successful businesspersons had and how similar their paths truly were. I also saw the same notion crossing over to the criminal justice side and how many of the notorious criminals in our country had similar upbringings. Dr. Breiden helped me recognize my passion for the criminal justice system and encouraged me to explore the various ways I could become involved,” she said.

After graduation, she worked as a paralegal before learning about the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Working as a child protective investigator at DCF for six years, she investigated human trafficking cases, which raised her awareness of the issues of human trafficking and how the system used to protect child victims was failing. Discovering FCAHT, which began in 2004, she followed their work through the state of Florida, and in 2007, began working for FCAHT as a case manager.

In her time at FCAHT, Rodriguez explains, “I have been able to volunteer for the Organization of American States and visited five countries to help train law enforcement, custom officials, prosecutors and judges on the issue of human trafficking. I went in an effort to help educate others on an issue that I am passionate about, and in return, I learned much about the countries and its citizens. Another major accomplishment was having my work recognized by United States Senator Marco Rubio.”

Proud of her accomplishments, she recognizes the role her education has played in her successes. “I felt as though Hodges prepared me for life after college. My education assisted me in being able to help implement best practices within the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking, which has helped the organization continue the work that was started back in 2004,” she said.

When asked what her advice would be for current or prospective Hodges students, she stated, “My advice to current students is to take the time and absorb as much as you can from your professors… They vested their time in ensuring we walked out of class with a better knowledge of what it was that we were discussing. Looking back, I can see how their life experiences helped me stay on the right path. For anyone who may be interested in attending Hodges, go for it! If you want to understand how to succeed in the real world, Hodges is the place to go. At Hodges, you are not just another number. You are treated like family.”

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