Markim Hall 310
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m.-12:00 noon
Education Studies & Latin American Studies, 2008
Leaders in Service, College Access Issue Coordinator
Lilly Senior Keystone
Pierangelo Rossi entered Macalester full of ideas. “I had a general sense of what I wanted to study,” he says, citing an early decision to major in Latin American Studies. “Working for College Access as a student leader, I brought young students to campus and encouraged them to attend college. This helped me realize I wanted to move away from the ‘think tank’ environment of discussing policy issues and become involved in the community.
“I realized I had an opportunity to give back, but I wasn’t sure where to begin. Looking back, I wish I’d collaborated on more research with my professors and the staff at Macalester. Their expertise and guidance would’ve helped me as I struggled to find my direction.”
""Pier is such a charismatic individual! He came to Macalester passionate about the injustices he perceived, and then added to his own positive force by also learning to understand the value of collaboration, that a critical mass of others can be larger than oneself." -Ruth Janisch Lake, Assistant Director, Civic Engagement Center
His sophomore year, Rossi attended a large rally in St. Paul for immigration reform. “This was a turning point for me. I’d spent all this time discussing theory in class, but I hadn’t realized how to apply this knowledge. I wanted to become more hands-on in my approach and directly effect change.” Rossi’s epiphany changed his entire outlook. “My parents say my discourse became more radical when I called home.”
“Act locally, think globally” became Rossi’s mantra. “I found a balance between my studies and my community activities: focus on one thing at a time and let it develop. I made it my mission to learn all I could in one area, then move on to the next.”
Prior to the Lilly Senior Keystone retreat, Rossi thought he wanted to work on policy issues related to Latin America, centering his work with think tanks on the East Coast of the United States. In the course of his senior year, the realization unfolded that he wanted to engage more on a local scale. Tackling his future step-by-step, he decided to stay in Minnesota and work with local students. “I see a lot of kids with highly diverse backgrounds, and through our workshops, I help them set goals and dream big,” he says, describing his role as school facilitator for Project Success. “I want to be an example to them, to show them that they can succeed if they work hard and that colleges like Macalester have scholarships to help them achieve their goals.
“Success to me is working for a cause that is just and right, but also possessing meaningful empathy with others. I’ve grown through my work with Project Success. My confidence in my values and the quality of my work are a sign of my personal success,” he says about working with 13- and 14-year-old Latinos. “I’ve always wanted to work with passionate people, but to also help others discover and pursue their passions. This is where change begins at the community level.
“Passion alone can lack direction, so my work through Project Success has helped ground me and helped me to see what’s important.”