Rafael De La Rosa, former aide to Congressman Brad Sherman and director of government and community relations at California State University, Northridge, has been appointed assistant vice president for government and community relations at CSUN.
De La Rosa brings years of experience working with government and community leaders to his new position, including nearly three years spent as assistant director of government and community relations at the university. For the past few months, he has been serving as the office’s director.
“In this new position, Rafael will play a key role in leading important initiatives and programs that advance the university’s reputation, relationships and resources,” said Robert Gunsalus, CSUN’s vice president for university relations and advancement. “Rafael will serve as CSUN’s lead ambassador to local community groups, as well as regional, state and national agencies and elected officials and their staffs. He will also be monitoring key issues and legislation affecting public higher education in California, and educating the campus and the broader public on those issues.”
Gunsalus noted that De La Rosa “is a passionate advocate for our state’s community colleges and UC and CSU systems.”
De La Rosa said he is honored to be named assistant vice president for government and community relations at CSUN.
“Fighting for access and equity in higher education is personal for me, as it wasn’t that long ago that I was like most of the students CSUN serves — working multiple jobs, saving money and overloading on courses to make sure I would make it to graduation,” De La Rosa said. “The struggle is as real now as it was then. One works at CSUN to make a difference in the lives of today’s young people, tomorrow’s leaders, and my greatest hope is that I can play even a small role in making our students’ dreams a reality.”
De La Rosa earned an associate’s degree in 2007 from Ventura Community College, and bachelor’s degrees in history and political science from UCLA in 2010.
De La Rosa began his career as an intern in 2010 in the Department of Social Services in Baltimore, where he worked under current Maryland State Sen. Antonio Hayes. He took an internship in Congress in 2010, and soon thereafter he was hired as staff assistant and subsequently legislative assistant for longtime San Fernando Valley Congressman Sherman. He left Sherman’s office in 2014 to become legislative director for California Assemblyman Matthew Dababneh, before taking the position of director of government relations with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group in 2015.
While with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, De La Rosa successfully established and broadened strategic relationships between the organization, member companies and California elected officials; led policy discussions with elected officials and executives with the group’s member companies; and supervised annual trips to Washington, D.C., where he helped Silicon Valley CEOs, elected officials and start-up executives advocate for legislation before government officials and members of Congress.