MPA student Dominic Gomez shines in competitive Harvard public health workshop and life

Published: April 20, 2023 Author: Eren Crebs

The first thing you notice about Dominic Gomez is that he is humble and grateful for all of the opportunities he’s had. But make no mistake – he has earned every one of those opportunities.

Gomez has worked hard throughout his entire life. Hailing from The Gambia, Gomez has been educated in three different countries, earning admission to prestigious programs and scholarships.

Now, Gomez is at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service, working to help economic development in Appalachia and building connections within the school and out.

Gomez earned his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of The Gambia. He wanted an educational experience outside of his home country, however, and looked out for international master’s programs.

Gomez was a student at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy with a full scholarship and has now graduated with a Master of Economics and Finance. Consequently, he applied to and was accepted to the Voinovich School.

During his interview, Gomez met Ani Ruhil, the associate dean for research and planning and a professor at the Voinovich School, who would become a mentor for Gomez.

Ruhil teaches a statistics class for the cohort of Master of Public Administration students. During the class, Ruhil said Gomez maintained enthusiasm and a high work ethic.

“He really was thinking hard about not just the coursework, but about what’s next. What’s my future look like?” Ruhil said.

Gomez had the statistics class with Vincent Ramundo. Ramundo said he was struggling with the class, and Gomez offered his time to help tutor some of his fellow students in the cohort.

“He just gave his time. Not only to me but to other students as well. It just really helped out and took a lot of his own personal time to do that,” Ramundo said.

Gomez spoke highly of Ruhil’s guidance throughout his time at the Voinovich School – Ruhil answers messages always on time and provides guidance on professional matters.

Ruhil also encouraged Gomez to apply for the workshop to increase diversity in mathematical modeling and public health at Harvard University.

“The applicant pool for this year’s Workshop was the largest and most competitive in our program’s history and represented an over 500% percent increase in applications from 2022,” the acceptance email from Harvard read.

The workshop will, hopefully, give Gomez networking opportunities in addition to the knowledge gained from the workshop itself, Ruhil said. 

Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have Harvard on your resume.

Gomez said the Harvard program will help him get closer to his dream of being a university professor.

“Be curious for knowledge — the transformation of consciousness; committed to your vision and stay consistent with your mission. I have a dream, and it is what wakes me up to chase it,” Dominic said. “I express my sincere gratitude for the opportunity bestowed upon me. I extend my heartfelt appreciation to the admission team for providing financial assistance to secure admission. To everyone involved in this process, I am immensely grateful for your invaluable support and guidance.”

As for his work at the Voinovich School, Gomez is a graduate assistant for Elham Erfanian, a visiting professor in economics. With Erfanian, Gomez is working with the Resilience Initiative for Southeastern and Eastern Ohio (RISE Ohio), where he is analyzing economic growth trends in Appalachian counties in Ohio.

“That’s one of the exciting things about my experience here at Ohio University,” Gomez said.

When speaking on Gomez’s work as a graduate assistantship, Efranian’s praise of Gomez echoes Ruhil’s.

“He puts extra care and compassion into his work, no matter what he’s working on, which is great. He’s a motivated person. He’s hardworking,” Elham said.

Ruhil said he sees Gomez’s traits as qualities that will serve him well in the professional field after he graduates.

“You have to still show up every day doing your best, you know, hoping that you can come in with the right attitude. And Dominic is, I think, one of the stellar students I’ve seen who brings that to class every week, with a smile” Ruhil said.