Rita Rodriguez-Utt recalls a childhood of poverty. Not just financial poverty, she says, but "poverty of opportunities, expectations, language and role models. ... It was being told in Junior High School that you were not college material and sent to the technical school. It was the lack of counseling in high school to prepare you for college. It was the desperation to pull myself out of the cycle of poverty without any bootstraps."
In spite of all that, this mujer poderosa graduated from high school and became a licensed vocational nurse. At the age of 38, she went to law school. She practiced for 25 years, and is now retired. Among the things she enjoys doing is helping her husband with his antiquarian book business and watching over her great-grandson.