At UMBC, Rosa developed a deep passion for food justice. She designed an Interdisciplinary Studies major in Food Systems Policy — integrating studies in geography and environment, political science, and sociology — to understand how public policy can improve food systems.
Rosa’s desire to positively impact food systems extended beyond the classroom. She served as Community & Education Director for The Garden at UMBC, and interned with Baltimarket, a food justice program run by the Baltimore City Health Department. While studying abroad in Norway, Rosa published several articles on food issues in a national Norwegian newspaper and spent the summer writing for the Oslo-based climate change social enterprise, cCHANGE. She was an Americorps volunteer with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and went on to establish a partnership between the IRC and UMBC. Rosa presented her senior thesis research about food access in Baltimore City at UMBC’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Arts Day (URCAD).
After graduation, Rosa served as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow through the Congressional Hunger Center. As part of this highly competitive fellowship program, Rosa worked for six months at the San Diego Hunger Coalition, then six months with the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington, DC.
Rosa currently works as a 2Gen Legislative Analyst at the Connecticut General Assembly. Her job involves developing two-generation policy solutions to break cycles of poverty. Rosa’s work centers families in the policy-making process and addresses racial and socioeconomic inequity.
The Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program inspired Rosa to cultivate her passion for creating equitable systems and nurtured her commitment to public service. In her own words, “A program like Sondheim, at a school as innovative, diverse, and humble as UMBC, will naturally convene a unique group of thinkers and leaders.” Through coursework, peer networks, and opportunities for experiential learning, the Sondheim Program shaped her into a confident, experienced advocate for social change. The relationships that Rosa developed with fellow Sondheim Scholars and mentors during her time at UMBC are still strong and the network she built is thriving.