As the daughter of Dominican immigrants, Jacqueline Peña has always understood the value of education and has seen how access to information, resources, and educational opportunities can empower individuals to push through obstacles towards success. Born and raised in Bronx, New York, Jacqueline has dedicated 20 years to student success in higher education and has worked in different areas including academic support, classroom instruction, curriculum development, professional development, strategic planning, assessment and accreditation. Jacqueline currently serves as Dean of Faculty at Miami Dade College’s North Campus and Interim Executive Director of the Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Center in Liberty City.
Highlighting her mission to enhance college access and student success, Jacqueline earned a Hispanic Women of Distinction award in 2017 for her work with education, including various projects at Miami Dade College. These projects include Free College for a Day via which the community gets to try out college courses and the college experience free on one day while also learning about available resources. Another project was the creation of the Weekend College, which allows working adults to attend college full-time on the weekends.
Realizing the need to help children see the dream of higher education, Jacqueline also has worked with public schools to align curriculum and increase students’ chances of transitioning from high school to college successfully. She has also worked with middle schools and high schools to help students find their passions and build educational and career goals. With that passion, she has helped students gain access to college-level credit coursework as well as industry certifications before even graduating from high school.
Now Jacqueline is using her higher education experience and project management skills to help other institutions and organizations fulfill their missions, achieve their goals, and build on their successes. In addition, she is expanding her reach from outside of higher education to focus on educational resources that promote community health as well as economic development with a focus on micro businesses.
Jacqueline received her B.A. in English Literature from Herbert H. Lehman College, her Master’s degree in English Literature from Boston College, her Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Florida International University, and a post-graduate certificate in Institutional Research from Florida State University.