Moments with others can carry deep significance and have the capacity to craft the future trajectory of our lives. This is especially true for senior social work major Jason Rudolph. Rudolph has a tenacious work ethic and is actively involved with two organizations on campus: the Multicultural Outreach Team (MCOT) and Pride, where Rudolph has the ability to live out his passions for serving both the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized identities. As a member of MCOT, Rudolph manages multiple responsibilities, which include leading tabling events and diversity workshops. In his work with Pride, Rudolph was the outreach chairman where he reached out to other organizations to collaborate on activities, planned events, and assisted with budgeting.

Originally from St. Louis, Rudolph thought he wanted to major in psychology, but after being in the care of a social worker at the Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Rudolph’s experience ignited his passion to become a social worker for the transgender community and he decided to shift his major to social work. Through both his own experiences and interactions with others, Rudolph recognizes the scarcity of resources for transgender individuals, and he hopes to be the change by dedicating his work to this community.

While reflecting on his experiences at Illinois State University, Rudolph acknowledged that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic disrupted his ability to undergo the “typical college experience.” Several events that Rudolph planned and was looking forward to were canceled due to the abrupt start of the pandemic when he was a sophomore. In particular, the Annual Drag Show through Pride was canceled and created much disappointment since Rudolph put in significant effort into planning the event. Despite the disappointment, Rudolph said he has valued his time at Illinois State University and learned skills through various experiences outside of the classroom that will prepare him well for his future career.

One such experience was a retreat for members of Illinois State registered student organizations where multiple organizations came together over the summer to bond with one another and engage in collaboration to plan future programming. During this experience, Rudolph engaged in discussions with other students about topics that can be labeled as “taboo,” which proved to be extremely meaningful for him. Rudolph believes it is important to engage in dialogue about these topics because it can lead to deeper connections with others.

Rudolph is graduating this May with his bachelor’s degree in social work. After graduation, he is moving to Champaign and will work for a year before pursuing his master’s degree in social work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Rudolph hopes to work with the LGBTQ+ community in the future with the goal of helping members of the trans community. The future looks very bright for this wonderful student!

For more information about Pride at ISU, check out their Redbird Life page or follow them on Instagram @isupride.

The Multicultural Outreach team strives to highlight the work of diverse students on our campus. We know there are a lot of students doing amazing work to better our campus community. If you would like to nominate a student to be featured, please fill out this form.