When Carmen Rey-Gomez was growing up in Hartford CT., her Puerto Rico born parents required her and her brother and sister to speak Spanish. They also placed a high priority on education. “There was never any question that I would go to college. It was the expectation,” she says. Today, Rey-Gomez maintains her parents’ passion for education as the director of the Hispanic Institute at Hodges University.
She works tirelessly to inform policy-makers about issues vital to the Hispanic community and to provide the community with information and analysis necessary for effective participation in public policy development. Her work with students is what brings her the most joy. She explains, “I am proud that I have been able to provide students an opportunity to see themselves in another way. To help them know that they are capable of much more.”
Rey-Gomez holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut. Prior to moving to Southwest Florida 10 years ago, she was a community health interviewer, family educator and an HIV/AIDS mental health provider. She says that she has always defined success on a personal level, “that in my gut I know that I have done the best that I can. That I have served others.”