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Thursday, August 20, 2020

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: A ‘Future Adventure’ Comes Alive

Jermaine Rocacorba at a protest

Jermaine Rocacorba remembers a San Diego State University Leadership Minor project called “Create a Future Adventure.” The assignment was to create something that doesn’t already exist — something that would make the world a better place. Rocacorba, who graduated from SDSU in December of 2018 with a degree in communication, has been seemingly living that project ever since. 

The native of the Philippines who grew up in San Diego’s Paradise Hills neighborhood has turned a passion for social justice activism into a life’s work. She is currently launching Pag-asa Law Clinic (Pag-asa is Tagalog for “hope”), a nonprofit providing legal services to immigrants, domestic violence victims and individuals facing tenant issues in San Diego’s large Filipino community. 

“When I was an undergraduate, I saw that I could create spaces that allow people to feel liberated, to feel so truly themselves,” said Rocacorba, who built her nonprofit using the Social Change Model of Leadership Development she studied in the Minor. “What barriers can I remove or what kind of systems or opportunities can I create so that you have the ability to thrive? I think it's that mentality of liberation that I have in mind — freeing the soul. Who doesn't want that?" 

In addition to creating Pag-asa Law Clinic, Rocacorba is vice president of UniPro San Diego — a nonprofit providing leadership development to Filipino youth. She also recently served on the staff of the Philippine Consulate in San Diego. This fall, she will start a master’s program at Seattle University with an idea of one day returning to her hometown to seek more leadership opportunities — perhaps even elected office. 

As her future adventure continues to unfold, Rocacorba says she still draws on her experience in Minor, which is offered by the Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education.   

"It was a space for me to really explore,” she said. “To become very critical of how I navigated the world.”

Learn more about the Leadership Minor at SDSU.