(Chicago, IL) — TASC President Pamela Rodriguez has been honored as an outstanding alumna of Bemidji State University (BSU). Ms. Rodriguez accepted BSU’s 2012 Outstanding Alumni Award during halftime of the university’s homecoming football game on Saturday, September 29.
Ms. Rodriguez graduated from BSU in 1978 with a degree in social work. She began working in juvenile justice at the Hennepin County Home near Minneapolis, and two years later enrolled at the University of Chicago, where she earned her M.A. in social service administration.
In 1982, she joined TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities), a statewide criminal justice advocacy and service organization in Illinois. Founded in 1976, TASC advocates at state and federal levels for supervised drug treatment as an alternative to incarceration for nonviolent offenders. Ms. Rodriguez began as a grant writer and was promoted successively to direct nearly every aspect of the agency. She became the organization’s president in 2009, overseeing a $20 million budget and more than 300 staff in 12 regional offices across Illinois.
A leader in connecting research, practice, and public policy, Ms. Rodriguez has championed state and federal efforts to reduce racial disproportionality in drug laws and sentencing. In 2007, Ms. Rodriguez was one of nine juvenile justice experts named to the Federal Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, an independent organization in the U.S. executive branch that coordinates all federal juvenile delinquency prevention and detention programs.
Bemidji State University Outstanding Alumni recipients are nominated by alumni, faculty, and staff and are selected by the Alumni Association Board of Directors for distinguished and professional achievement.