Samuel Rodas, Guttman Class of ’18: Laying Down Tracks in Music and Life



February 28, 2023 | Alumni, Alumni Achievement

Don’t worry, all you Latin music fans out there. You won’t miss the good stuff. Samuel Rodas has got you covered each week for New Music Fridays. Every Saturday after the hottest artists in the music industry drop their tunes, the 2018 Guttman alum and his friends choose two or three of the best songs and “serve it up” on their DALE PA’L PODCAST.

Hablando de todo un poco,” says Rodas, who enjoys making beats and posting them as much as listening to them and talking about all things music with his three co-hosts. “We’re all into music, especially Latin artists.Whenever we got together in PlayStation party chat, we’d talk about albums— what we liked and didn’t like each week, our favorite singles, sound techniques, and audio trends, and just joke around. One night, one of my friends said, ‘You know, what we’re doing sounds like a podcast. So we might as well do one.’”

Rodas and his friends quickly found their niche reviewing the newest recordings and featuring a wide range of musicians in reggaetón, Latin trap, Dembow, R&B, Salsa, and other contemporary genres. After their first couple weeks, DALE PA’L PODCAST reached the top 30 music podcasts in Colombia and placed in the top 20 comedy interview shows in Spain. “We’re just getting started,” the Colombian-born audiophile explains. Although collectively they’ve acquired equipment like good mics, recording software, audio interface, and headphones, they’re considering investing in a camera and lighting. “As long as we’re having fun, it’s worth it. We’ve still got our day jobs,” he laughs.

Having a side hustle, even two or three, wasn’t uncommon for Rodas. After graduating from Guttman in Human Services, he went on to earn a B.A. in Psychology from CUNY’s Lehman College in the Bronx, where he lives. During and after his degree, Rodas was fortunate to go back to Colombia, staying with family and friends in his beautiful hometown of Medellín, “The City of Eternal Spring.” In between visits, he’d search for jobs, making some money delivering for Uber Eats in Tribeca with a scooter he bought for that purpose. With no immediate prospects, he helped his dad stock vending machines while scanning employment sites and teaching himself to play the keyboard by watching what he calls “YouTube College.” Rodas felt like he lost momentum completing his bachelor’s in the pandemic years and that carried over into his post-college plans.

“I think I got a little lazy during COVID,” he admits. “It wasn’t easy to get motivated and do all the work online. I missed meeting with my advisors as I did at Guttman. My Blackboard account had a glitch and I thought I was ready to graduate in 2020, but I learned that I still needed some general education credits. I really had to turn myself around and get it done.” He did, graduating from Lehman in the summer of 2021.

Despite the inspiration and creativity Rodas found as a self-taught musician making beats, he realized that he’d need to apply the same energy and resourcefulness to looking for a job that gave him a paycheck and benefits. Thinking about his networks, he reached out to a family friend who worked in payroll for the Department of Education. She showed him how to look for vacancies on their website. It wasn’t long before he found a Family Worker position assisting a school psychologist who supports students in getting the learning accommodations that help them succeed.

Each day since he began this role, Rodas convenes teachers, family members and caregivers with the school psychologist to discuss, develop, and review students’ progress and needs in their IEPs (Individualized Education Programs). He organizes each meeting ahead of time, traveling to three different Manhattan high schools on the Lower East Side to ensure that students who have a disability identified under the law are receiving specialized instruction and the related services for which they’re eligible. “It’s pretty perfect with what I studied,” says Rodas. “I’m learning a lot. My supervisor brings her care to each student even though she has a big caseload. I respect what she does, and I can even see myself maybe doing her job in the future.”

“I’m definitely going to look into it,” he adds, without skipping a beat.

You can follow Guttman alum Samuel Rodas (@sr_sound) on Instagram and find DALE PA’L PODCAST wherever you get your podcasts.