Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Sociology
Associate Professor
Latino & Puerto Rican Studies Minor
Gerontology Minor
Or by appointment

Dr. Heather R. Rodriguez has been teaching sociology at the university level since 2003.  Dr. Rodriguez earned her Bachelor’s degree in 1998 from the University of Notre Dame where she was a Pre-Med and Sociology major with a philosophical concentration in Science, Technology, and Values.  After graduating with her Bachelor’s from Notre Dame, Dr. Rodriguez entered the Jesuit Volunteer Corps where she worked as an HIV Outreach Worker and Prevention Specialist in Venice and Santa Monica, California.  After her year of service, she worked as a counselor at a group home for young boys. She received her PhD in Sociology from Purdue University in 2005.  She focused on Medical Sociology and minored in Women’s Studies.  After graduate school, Dr. Rodriguez had a two year fellowship at UCLA where she continued her research in HIV prevention.  During this fellowship she assisted with various qualitative and quantitative research studies with Charles Drew University, AIDS Project Los Angeles, and the VA Hospital of Northridge. 

In 2016 and 2017, Dr. Rodriguez was a top three finalist and semifinalist, respectively, for the CCSU Excellence in Teaching Award.  These nominations are a result of remarkable support from students and faculty, innovative and culturally relevant teaching pedagogies, and her philosophical approach to teaching and learning.  Dr. Rodriguez won the Board of Regents Teaching Award for Central in Spring 2022.  

Purdue University
Areas of Expertise

Areas of Interest

Health Services, Medical Sociology, Gender and Sexuality, Social Psychology, Masculinity, Abuelita/Mujerista theology, Race and Ethnicity, Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods, HIV/AIDS, Environmental Sociology, Sociology of Aging, Latina Empowerment in the Community


Publications, Research & Presentations
Awards & Grants

May 2022         Board of Regents Teaching Award CCSU campus

April 2017           CCSU Excellence in Teaching Award Semi-Finalist

April 2017           CCSU AAUP Minority Retention and Recruitment Grant, “Including Latinos as a Topic of Importance at International Conferences.”

April 2017           CCSU AAUP Curriculum Development Grant to develop new course “SOC 441: Sociology of the Aging Body”

March 2017        CSU AAUP Faculty Grant, “Disrupting Aging in Gerontology: Older Latinas Engagement in Social Activism”

Nov. 2016           CCSU AAUP Professional Development Grant Why Latino History Matters to U.S. History:  A talk by Dr. Vicki Ruiz (written with Leah Glaser-History and Heather Prescott-History)

Nov. 2016           CCSU Faculty-Student Research Grant, “An Analysis of Collective Behavior and Empowerment Strategies present in Latina-focused Service Agencies”

April 2016          CCSU Excellence in Teaching Award Finalist (top three finalist)

June 2015           National Endowment for the Humanities and American Library Association Grant. $10,000 to support programming on Latino Americans.

April 2015           CCSU-AAUP Minority Retention and Recruitment Grant.  $1200 to support Latina Identity Art Exhibit and Opening Reception.


Memberships & Affiliations

Events Co-Coordinated for Latino and Puerto Rican Studies Program as Chair 2015-2019

September 2015. PBS Series “Latino Americans: 500 years of History”, Episode 1 with guest scholar Steve Pitti, Historian from Yale University.

September 2015-October 2016. Guayasmin Mural Exhibit, Central Library 2nd Floor

October 2015. PBS Series “Latino Americans: 500 years of History”, Episode 2 with guest scholar, Maria Montoya, Historian, NYU. 

October 2015. Latina Identity Art Exhibit in the Central SSH Courtyard

December 2015. PBS Series “Latino Americans: 500 years of History”, Episode 3 with panel speakers New London Rep. Chris Soto, veteran Chris Gutierrez, Rep. Bobby Sanchez. 

December 2015. PBS Series “Latino Americans: 500 years of History”, Episode 3 with panel speakers New London Rep. Chris Soto, veteran Chris Gutierrez, Rep. Bobby Sanchez. 

February 2016. PBS Series “Latino Americans: 500 years of History”, Episode 4 with guest scholar Mark Overmeyer-Velazquez, UCONN

February 2016-April 2016. Borinqueneer Exhibit at Downtown New Britain Visitor’s Center

March 2016. PBS Series “Latino Americans: 500 years of History”, Episode 5 with guest scholar Anthony Mora, Historian, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

April 2016. PBS Series “Latino Americans: 500 years of History”, Episode 6 with guest scholar Dr. Rueda, Sociologist, Vassar College. 

October 2016. Panel Discussion by Mexican Human Right’s Activist Group

October 2016. Latina Identity Art Exhibit in Central Student Center

October 2016. Film and Discussion with Hispanic Health Council on the documentary No Mas Bebes

April 2017. “Why Latino History Matters” with Vicki Ruiz, Historian, National Humanities Medalist

October 2017. “Community Conversation on Puerto Rico” with panelists Serafin Mendez-Mendez (Central Communications),  Reinaldo Rojas (Central Social Work), Frank Betancourt (San Juan Center), Nelba Marquez-Greene (Ana Grace Project), Charles (UCONN Political Science), and a Representative from the new hurricane relief coalition Puerto Rico Rising-CT

November 2017. Panel Discussion on Puerto Rico.

April 2018.  A Symposium for The Center For Africana Studies, The Center For International Education, Latino And Puerto Rican Studies, The Latin American, Latino, And Caribbean Center (LALCC), Latin American Studies, Department Of Modern Languages. 

April 2019.  Latina Identity Art Exhibition April 24-26, 2019. Opening Reception Thursday April 25, 2019.  Central Art Galleries Maloney Hall 2nd Floor Samuels. T. Chen Fine Arts Center. 

April 2019.  Guest speaker Sociologist Dr. Daisy Fuentes, UCONN.  Learning to be Latino: How Colleges Shape Identity Politics. 

October 2019.  Grupo Fantasia, Central Alumni Hall, Student Center, musical performance highlighting a variety of Latin and Caribbean musical styles; a discussion of the indigenous instruments used by the group, the different musical styles and their origins.

Courses Taught

Courses Previously Taught

Latina Identity and Empowerment

Environmental Sociology

Introduction to Sociology

Race, Class and Gender

Aging in American Sociology

Sociology of the Aging Body

Sociology of Health and Illness

Males, Manhood, and Masculinity

Global Health Issues and Interventions

Social Psychology

Statistics for the Social Sciences

Gender, Sex, and Sexuality

Research Methods

Quantitative Research Methods

Critical Methodologies