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Staff Spotlight: Rocky Riviella

Author: Emma Amaglo

Photo of Rocky Riviella and his new fiance Carole smiling at the camera. Carole has her hand on Rocky's chest, showing off her new engagement ring.Last week, Rocky L. Riviella celebrated two years serving Odum as our managing director. For him, stepping into this role was a huge change, but an immensely rewarding one that has allowed him to make a real difference at the Institute and on campus.

Rocky started his UNC career 12 years ago at the McAllister Heart Institute, which was in the School of Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill. Since his work there kept him almost exclusively down on South Campus, he never had much opportunity to venture to the main campus. Rocky has a lot of school pride and is one the reasons he moved to Carolina was to be at the first public university in the country.

Rocky is originally from Niles, Ohio (a cold and dreary locale), so he really appreciates and loves the sunny North Carolina weather. Rocky came to Odum just a couple months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, so he hasn’t been able to explore as much of downtown Chapel Hill as he would like. He has been able to go to Top of the Hill, Linda’s and Med Deli and he loves them.

When Rocky isn’t working, he loves to kayak, hike and or mountain bike. His happy place is the beach, but when he’s not soaking up the sun and enjoying the beautiful North Carolina weather, he’s watching Sports or something scary. His binges were Dexter, Breaking Bad, The Office or Schitt’s Creek on Netflix. A fun fact about Rocky is that he has a son named after him, Rocky R. Riviella, which is why it is important to use his middle initial.

This semester, Rocky is looking forward to helping and supporting Odum staff as they transition back to working from the office more. Being able to support staff and promote research, as well as using his managing experience to help recruit, retain and create a work environment is something he’s passionate about.

“Working in social research is rewarding, as we can see results fast and help more people than in the medical field, which can at times be slow and have government red tape,” he said. He is also working on offering a short course to share his 25 experience in management and research related topics. Be sure to be on the lookout for that!

Earlier this semester Rocky got engaged to Carole Washington, a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) who works at UNC in the Ambulatory Care Center (ACC). Congratulations to Rocky and Carole!

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