FELLOWSHIP: Rojas Works to Protect Children in Ecuador

FELLOWSHIP: Rojas Works to Protect Children in Ecuador

NORTON, Mass. - Eighteen Wheaton College student-athletes have earned fellowships this summer through the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services that will enrich their academic experiences. 

The Davis International and Porter Cleveland fellowships are just a few examples of the Wheaton Edge – a promise that every single student will receive financial support for an internship, research position or other experiential learning opportunity by the time they graduate.

Throughout the summer, the athletics department will feature the student-athletes taking part in these fellowships, including Andy Rojas '18 of the Wheaton synchronized swimming program. 

A double major in political science and Hispanic studies, from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Rojas will intern with Junta Metropolitana de Protección de la Niñez y Adolescencia in Quito, Ecuador, assisting with recording testimonies, legal and court procedures, and other projects. 

Wheaton Athletics: Tell me a little bit about your fellowship. 

Andy Rojas: I received the Wheaton Fellowship from my eight-week internship in Quito, Ecuador. For my internship, I am working with the Junta Metropolitana de Protección de la Niñez y Adolescencia. It is a government agency design to protect any children or adolescent who is being domestically abused. My daily task consists of working in the first attention office. The first attention office is where people file a complaint against someone (the alleged abuser). We usually read and evaluate the complaints and from there we take the necessary measures based on the urgency and the facts. I was also able to conduct interviews with both the victims and the alleged abusers in which I testified in court with precise and intricate details from the interviews conducted.

WA: What interested you in the fellowship? 

AR: I am a double major in Political Science and Hispanic Studies. This internship was a little mix between both fields. I was very interested in this internship because I would be able to be part of this community while helping children in need. 

WA: What experiences are you hoping to gain from your fellowship? 

ARI hope to learn how the Ecuadorian law differs from the United States. But mainly be part of a team who not only defends children but also finds ways to end child abuse. 

WA: What are your career aspirations and how will this help you achieve them? 

AR: I like helping people and being able to be part of different communities. My ideal career goal is to work in the field of the law within international diplomacy/law.

This experience has helped me reach my goal by becoming part of a community, seeing the relationship of the country and seeing how their laws work.

WA: How will this experience make you a better leader at Wheaton and on your team? 

AR: This experience has helped me go beyond my personal comfort. I've gotten the opportunity to be able to explore how to become a leader by example and I hope to inspire others to lead by example. 

WA: Finally, why do you think these opportunities are beneficial to Wheaton students? 

AR: I think these opportunities are extremely beneficial to Wheaton students because it's a unique experience from the work you do to the place you are. Being able to go internationally while persuading something one is truly passionate about it's an opportunity that doesn't come often.