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Alumni Spotlight: Sara (Russell) Rodriguez

Sara RodriguezBrookfield East Class of 1993

Sara Rodriguez is a Spartan graduate and Registered Nurse who was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2020.

Sara's Elmbrook journey took her from Brookside Elementary to Burleigh Elementary, Elmbrook Middle School (currently Pilgrim Park) and finally Brookfield East High School. During her time at BEHS, she was involved in softball, swimming, orchestra, forensics, drama, Key Club, Spanish Honor Society, and National Honor Society. Rodriguez recognized her English teacher Sandra Reddemann and Science teacher Lee Borowski for the impact they had on her education. "My Elmbrook education prepared me well to succeed in college. I remember starting college ahead of my peers because Elmbrook had emphasized strong research and writing skills," Sara reflected. "We were offered so many opportunities to explore different interests in high school that I went into college confident in being able to find my way."

Following her graduation from East in 1993, Rodriguez continued to Illinois Wesleyan University where she earned her Bachelors in Neuroscience in 1997. She then joined the Peace Corps and was stationed in Samoa in the South Pacific with a focus on HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health education. "This experience solidified my desire to focus on public health and service in my career," she said. After returning from the Peace Corps, Sara received a fellowship to attend Johns Hopkins University where she would receive her Bachelors in Nursing and in 2003, her Masters in both Nursing and Public Health. During her graduate studies, she worked as an emergency room nurse in Baltimore, and following her Masters, she was accepted into the epidemiology fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

Sara worked as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer for the CDC, managing multiple national and international investigations. Following the CDC, Rodriguez transitioned to public health in Colorado where she worked as the Associate Director of Nursing for a local health department and as the Chronic Disease Director for the state health department. She eventually moved back to Wisconsin to be closer to family and has taken on a number of executive roles in health care consulting and local health care systems. Recently, Sara founded her own health care consulting firm where she works with health care systems, insurance companies, and businesses on population health management. 

In November 2020, Rodriguez was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly as the Representative for District 13 including parts of Brookfield, Elm Grove, Wauwatosa, West Allis, and Milwaukee. "I have enjoyed all parts of my careers and have been lucky to have been able to explore so many different parts of the healthcare system," she stated. "I am honored and humbled to serve this district, and will continue to focus on working in the legislature."

Today, Sara is married, has a son and daughter, is a Lifelong Girl Scout, and is also a leader in her daughter's Girl Scout Troop.

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