Bill Rodrigues will tell you that you might not know what you want to do with your life until it hits you over the head.
A California native, Rodrigues lived in various cities around the Bay Area while growing up and finally settled in Vallejo as a teenager. He graduated from Vallejo High School in 1998, and then went to work for the US Postal Service at various offices such as Pinole, Napa, Moraga, Walnut Creek, and San Ramon.
While at the Walnut Creek Post Office, he enrolled in DVC evening classes in 2008.
“I felt the USPS had a gloomy future, and my fiancé believed in higher education,” Rodrigues explained. “Both factors helped influence my decision to go back to school. DVC was very close by and offered night classes.
“When I first started at DVC, I thought I was going to be a business major,” he continued, “but I took my first geology class with Jason Mayfield and was immediately hooked. His lectures were engaging and he was so passionate about geology that it drew me in. Since I worked as a letter carrier, a job that allowed me to be outdoors and with geology being mostly outdoors, the two career paths were serendipitous.”
He earned an Associate in Science degree in Geographic Information Systems/Global Positioning System in 2013, along with a Certificate of Completion in IGETC. He transferred to UC Davis in the fall of 2013.
Then, in October 2013, he snagged a coveted job in Sacramento, working with the Office of Mine Reclamation through California’s Department of Conservation. In his work, he said, he looks at mine blueprints, then uses GIS software to digitize them and uses satellite imagery to determine the amount of mining activity/disturbance created.
Why does he like the job so much?
“I feel it is necessary to monitor and protect the limited yet valuable resources that our planet has to offer,” he said, “and it is great job experience in my chosen field.”
“DVC offers real world experience and an outstanding teaching team in the instructors,” Rodrigues said. “The instructors provided encouraging words, were available to answer questions, and provided constructive feedback.” He cited Dr. Binita Sinha, Dr. James Ellis, Michael Quinn, Dr. Jean Hetherington, Sr. Laura Burns, Maura Corcoran, “and the instructor to whom I can attribute my success at DVC, Jason Mayfield.”
Rodrigues would highly recommend this program to others. “The instructors are people also. They want the best for their students, to see them succeed and watch their appreciation for education grow. They are an excellent resource. The GIS degree helped me reach a goal that I never thought was possible by creating a sense of fulfillment and helping me provide for my wife and 5-month old daughter.”