Eric Rodgers is a 2013 graduate of DePaul University, where he studied Psychology and Philosophy. He credits this time at DePaul and in Chicago as containing some of the pivotal experiences that would propel him into a passion for education, the arts, and youth advocacy. Having maintained an aspiration to become an educator since high school, he applied for an alternative pathway to teaching program, and was brought to Minneapolis. He served as both a 6th and 5th grade teacher in Brooklyn Center and South Minneapolis’ Whittier neighborhood, respectively. A growing commitment to youth advocacy has brought him to Project SUCCESS, where he hopes to mobilize values such as a belief in the strength of community; honoring and empowering the voices of youth; and ending social disparities.
Kendrick Lamar and ANY artist from the TDE camp; Big K.R.I.T.; Erykah Badu; NAO; Jimi Hendrix; Baroness; Curtis Mayfield; Bobby Womack—there are many :)
If you had to pick a theme song that would play every time you entered the room, what would it be?
“Alright” by Kendrick Lamar or Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up.” I think that could be substituted with Kanye’s “Touch the Sky” haha.
Long Division by Keise Laymon. I also loved Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo.
Chico & Rita, Mind Games, Friday (all of them), and Mad Max: Fury Road, easily.
Nakji Bokum. It’s a spicy Korean octopus stir fry.
“Never apologize for asking for more time to think.”
Favorite subject in school:
English, Social studies, and Science. Really enjoyed Physics in high school once I was able to wrap my mind around it.
Favorite theater experience:
I saw a contemporary interpolation of Marlowe’s Dr. Faust in college that was really amazing. I love A Raisin in the Sun, as well.
Your ultimate vacation destination:
So many. In the US: New Orleans; I’ve never been and I feel like I would love it. Abroad: Haiti, Thailand, and a smattering of countries in southern and eastern Africa.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Again, there are many: Control of the elements, like the Avatar is one I find pretty appealing. Think I’d play around with the earth manipulation quite a bit.
The most influential person in your life/favorite teacher or mentor:
My mom and my sisters
What you wanted to be when you grew up:
I really wanted to be a graffiti artist, but being an artist of any kind was and still is important to me. Once I got high school, I wanted to be a college professor.