STUNTFILE: Cecilia Rodríguez Alcalá

Here is a quick biography on one of the STUNTWOMEN I had the chance to interview. Learn more about her "STUNTWORDS To Live By" in the book!

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Originally born in Asunción, Paraguay, at 15, Cecilia moved with her family to Miami, Florida. She knew well then that America, specifically, Miami and Paraguay were two different worlds. She went from a small private school in Paraguay to a large public school in Miami. Cecilia found herself wanting more out of her education than what was offered at her new school. She was compelled to ace all of her classes to place out of remedial classes, and earned her place in the Advance Placement courses. Eventually her academic talents landed her a full scholarship to Tufts University and the next chapter of an extraordinary life.

At Tufts she majored in international relations and history and minored in political science. But perhaps more telling of her will to excel was Cecilia’s participation in extracurricular activities such as starting a non-profit, joining the International Club that organized all the international parties on campus, joining the Latino Group, and joining the Spanish House. Cecilia worked for the Jumpstart project with Yale University, and then became a board member of Sparks International, an NGO that started at Princeton and creating the first co-ed school in Kabul, Afghanistan. Also during her time at Tufts she visited Barcelona during a summer between semesters, where she did marketing for a hospitality company.

She decided she wanted to give back to her country of birth, Paraguay, so after school she went back there to write for FOCO magazine and work with Martin Burt and the Fundación Paraguaya, an NGO based in Paraguay that promotes entrepreneurship, self-sufficient schools, and microfinance programs. After interviewing a group of computer scientists for the magazine, she found herself compelled to organize an effort to bring more computers to Paraguay. She was instrumental in getting a tech magnate to donate two hundred laptops to her efforts in Paraguay. She then convinced a European donor to donate an additional four thousand laptops, which would become the beginnings of her current non-profit, Paraguay Educa. Cecilia has continued to influence change in Paraguay, most recently aiding in the passing and execution of the FONACIDE law. This law establishes the first trust fund for education-related projects in Paraguay’s history with a public-private board, providing a total of $180 million per year, for the next ten years.