Gloria J. Rodriguez-Ransom is native to San Juan, Puerto Rico and came to Pittsburgh to attend college in 1991. A husband, three children, and a dog later she is still here in Pittsburgh. Gloria received a BA in Psychology from La Roche College in 95’, furthered her studies at Duquesne University with an MsEd. in School/Community Counseling in 98’ and received NBCC in 02’. She began her career as a CYF Caseworker and became a Licensed Professional Counselor in 04’. Gloria worked for the AIU3 and currently works for the Office of Child Development, University of Pittsburgh, providing mental health supportive services to children, their families and school age/early education providers. Gloria completed the Infant Mental Health Certificate Program at Chatham University in 2011 and became a P.L.A.Y. Project Licensed Consultant in 2012. Gloria is also a background volcalist, minor percussionist and dancer.  

While searching for a career brought Gloria to Pittsburgh it is her family and Latino community that keep her here. Gloria and her husband, Jace, have three children; 18 year old son, Jace, 16 year old daughter, Cali and 12 year old daughter Jali. It is her children who awaken a yearning for sharing the Puerto Rican culture with not just them but with the Pittsburgh community. Gloria joined the Latin American Cultural Union as a student seeking cultural fellowship and later become an active LACU member who participated, developed, implemented, performed and collaborated in a myriad of cultural activities that cultivated the Latino identity of her children and others. Tying both professional and cultural worlds together Gloria collaborated and lead the creation of the Latino Family Center for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services along with Latino community leaders and Latino families.

To stay connected, Gloria followed Machete Kisumontao’s performances throughout the city, dancing to their Salsa, Bomba y Plena. Machete is a Puerto Rican Riot band local to Pittsburgh. In 2012 lead singer, Maria Eugenia Escoriaza “Geña” recruited Gloria for a “Parranda” at the Coro Latinoamericano “Navidad Caribe” concert. It was then that Gloria became part of “Machete Kisumontao” as a dancer, vocalist and percussionist. Gloria is currently a Licensed Professional Counselor, serves as LACU’s Vice-President, performs with Machete Kisumontao and leads a Latin Aerobics class in the community as a YMCA Group Exercise Instructor.

My children awaken a yearning for sharing the Puerto Rican culture with not just them, but with the entire Pittsburgh community.
— Gloria