Rockwell was a graduate of the University of California, Davis. While a student she worked as a write for The California Aggie, the university’s student newspaper. After graduation, she worked on the staff of several local newspapers.
In 1989, Rockwell was hired as editor of Dateline, the campus newspaper. She earned a master’s degree in rhetoric and communication at the university in 1996.
In 2000, Rockwell began work on the university’s website and also served as a communications officer for the university’s College of Letters and Science.
Later, Rockwell was a leader in using social media to communicate the university’s messaging efforts. Recently, she debuted the “What Can I Do With My Major” blog. Just five days before her death, she published the post, “How UC Davis Undergraduates Can Become Journalists.”