Isaih Headshot

Isaih Rodriguez

Theater student leaving his mark on and off the stage

Isaih is a natural-born leader who has worked hard in pursuit of what he loves: theater. Determined to pursue a career in front of the camera, he is proving that you can be successful while doing something you love.

“I love theater and I love being on stage,” he says. “I don’t know exactly what I want to do yet, but I plan to take these next four years to find my spotlight.”

Isaih is a recipient of the 2021 Opportunity Rising Scholarship, an award reflective of Isaih’s leadership skills and dedication to his academics that will help him further his education and accomplish his goals.

In high school, Isaih participated in extra curriculars that allowed him to develop a well-rounded set of skills and competencies, including Junior World Affairs Council, an organization that seeks to teach students about international issues and become more globally aware and interact, a rotary club that helped foster leadership skills while serving his community. He was also a member of his school’s fine arts program, which gave Isaih a creative outlet and developed his love for theater.

As a child, Isaih learned about taking a role of leadership early on. He lost his mother at an early age and in 2007, his father was diagnosed with a heart disease that prevented him from working. As soon as Isaih could start working he jumped at the opportunity to help support his family.

Isaih is a freshman at the University of Texas at Arlington where he is pursuing a degree in theatre arts. Receiving this scholarship and earning a degree will help Isaih support his family. “My goal is to graduate debt-free,” says Isaih. “This scholarship helps me focus on school without worrying about the financial cost.”

Isaih has had an interest in theater since he can remember. Once he had a role in a play, he knew he had to find a career on stage.  His first play in high school was “Know Your Role,” a production that examines the roles and stereotypes perpetuated in modern American society. He looks back on his first play fondly and cherishes this moment because it was his first and only high school play due to the pandemic – Isiah can’t wait to get back out on the stage and is planning to audition for his first collegiate play in the spring.

Isaih has found himself drawn to productions that offer social criticism and both entertain and inform, citing the 2017 play by Dominique Morisseau “Pipeline,” as his favorite. The play explores class, race, parenthood, and the American Education system.

Isaih is looking forward to expanding his horizons in the fine arts and plans to use the next four years exploring where his passions lie. He hopes to find a career that allows him to be in front of the camera while supporting his family. Majoring in theater arts, he says, will allow him to explore all the possible careers related to the field and give him more breadth in his understanding of the world of theater.

The Opportunity Rising Scholarship will help Isaih explore his passions while having peace of mind that his tuition is paid for. “I’m really grateful for this scholarship because it will help me pay for school without going into debt later on,” Isaih says. “It gives me the support I need to figure out what I want to do without the burden of struggling to pay for tuition.”

For any students interested in applying for the Opportunity Rising scholarship in the future, Isaih emphasized how helpful and important scholarships are. “Student debt is a lot, so make sure you apply and get everything in by the deadline.”