Monday, Apr 13, 2020
Nina Rodriguez '17 takes the helm of prestigious publication
by Adam Grybowski
Nina Rodriguez '17 has been appointed the editor-in-chief of the Rutgers University Law Review in Camden. She is the first Latina to ever hold the position.
“For me, representation matters so much,” she says. “I know I’m paving the way for others who come after me.”
Published five times a year, the Rutgers University Law Review is the flagship law journal of Rutgers Law School. It's devoted to critical discussions of current legal problems, with articles by practitioners and scholars, as well as students. The journal was first published in 1915. The editor in chief oversees all operations and makes the ultimate decisions about what to publish.
“It’s a challenge that I’m ready to take on,” she says. “It’s more than a title; it's a chance to do something powerful with the time that I occupy such a prestigious role.”
Originally from Burlington Township, N.J., Rodriguez began her journey at Rider straight from high school. She majored in political science and minored in Spanish. She interned at her local Congressman's office, the legislative offices of Rep. Herb Conaway, during her time there. She was the first member of her family to graduate from college.
“I loved my time at Rider,” the second-year law student says. “With classes being so small, I created long-lasting relationships with my classmates and professors. People in my major were people of color like myself. We stuck together and that was inspiring to me. This friend group and their support made a huge difference to me.”
Rodriguez says she knew she wanted to be an attorney since she was a child. Her parents would joke with her that she was well-suited to the profession because of her formidable ability to present and hold an argument.
But it wasn't until 2009, when President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to become the first Hispanic and Latina Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, that Rodriguez truly became convinced of her ability to make her dream become a reality. At the time, she was a freshman in high school.
“That was the first time I saw someone who was Puerto Rican like myself who had made it to the top,” she says. “I was very used to walking into a room and not seeing people who looked like me. That’s disheartening. But seeing Sotomayor proved to me that people like myself could have successful legal careers too. After seeing that, I looked to her path and started preparing for my law school journey.”
In addition to Rodriguez, another Rider alumna was also named to a senior position within the Law Review. Suzanne Miller '18, a double major in political science and global studies at Rider, will be managing editor and Rodriguez's second in command.
The positions will take effect in the fall. Looking ahead to the future, Rodriguez hopes to clerk for judges at both the state and federal levels, setting the stage for a career as a future litigator.
“I want my voice to be heard and I want to argue and advocate for others,” she says.