Meet DSM: Carlos Rodriguez Rosa

Resident: Carlos Rodriguez Rosa 

Occupation: First Year Multicultural Admissions Counselor & Lecturer of English at Grand View University 

City: Des Moines 

Q: You’re originally from Puerto Rico. What attracted you to coming to Iowa? 

A: I always wanted to go to college in the mainland. College in Puerto Rico, in my head, was never an option. So I went to a college fair and I talked to every single person there. And by far, the nicest person there was someone from Grand View University in Des Moines. I got a full tuition scholarship at Grand View and became an English writing major.  

Q: What is your favorite memory of being a student at Grand View University? 

A: My favorite memory I think would be the first time that I hung out with my English major friends. It wasn’t a large group of people since it was a small major. But with them, I had a good group of people to show me around.  

Also, while I was in undergrad, my family in Puerto Rico was impacted by Hurricane Maria in 2017. When Grand View heard about it, they reached out to me about their emergency fund. I worked in the student life office at the time and I just remember everyone's warmth. And even though I felt a little lonely during that time, I didn't feel alone throughout the whole process. I was so far away and I had no contact with my family, but I had help. I think that's why I love Iowa. 

Q: You now work at Grand View and live in Des Moines. What do you like the most about living in Des Moines? 

A: I like that it's not too big, but it's also not too small. I think to me it's the perfect in between of urban and rural, especially being from more of a small town. It's big enough for me to build a career in my field and it’s small enough for me to not be overwhelmed. 

Q: What did you know about Iowa before moving here? 

A: I didn’t know that it existed! At my high school graduation for some reason when they announced where I was going to college, they said Ohio State University. I was the only one going to Iowa. 

Q: What are some of the key differences between Puerto Rico and Iowa? 

A: Affordability of basic items, like groceries. Housing in Puerto Rico is also very expensive. I was able to get a good deal on renting an apartment here, and my dad told me that I’m very lucky.  

Q: How would you describe Iowa to someone from Puerto Rico? 

A: I would say that Iowa, at least to me, is a very different place from Puerto Rico. In fact, it might be the opposite of Puerto Rico. But there's space to fit here. I never felt like I couldn't find my place. There was always a community to turn to at Grand View. I'm also a part of the LGBTQ+ community and there's a community here for that. I'm not alone. 

Q: You spent two and a half years at graduate school in Florida after graduating from Grand View. What led you to come back to Iowa? 

A: My intention was always to come back because I couldn't replicate the warmth and how comfortable I feel in Des Moines anywhere else. Florida sounds like a dream, but it's not homey. I had connections here in Iowa and a nice job opportunity. I always knew that I would be welcomed back.  

Greater Des Moines (DSM) is a vibrant, growing region in the heart of Iowa. DSM spans a vibrant city core, amenity-packed suburbs, comfy small towns and impressive rural expanses. It’s a place where you can do something greater and build the life you want and be who you were meant to be, all in a neighborly community and at an affordable cost. Learn more and find your greater in DSM.   

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