Drawing upon his experience, wisdom, and good humor to go above and beyond for Queensborough students
CUNY Administrative Assistant
“What I appreciate the most about Rey is his friendly approach to, and support for, each student he works with,” said Brian Mitra, Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment. “He goes the extra mile to sit down with them, to explain details, and to offer the resources that will help them reach the next step in their academic career. Whether he spontaneously connects with students, has a scheduled appointment –or a call is routed through his office--Rey’s example is what we should all aspire to when supporting our students.”
Indeed, Rey creates a culture of care that students long for-- to be connected, heard—the welcoming environment needed to be successful.
Born and raised in Jamaica, Queens, Rey enrolled at Queensborough in the fall of 2005 as an Office Administration & Technology major. The following year, he began working as a work-study student in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs under the leadership of Ellen Hartigan. Immediately after graduating in the spring of 2008, he began his full-time position at Queensborough as a CUNY Office Assistant. In October 2013, he was promoted to CUNY Administrative Assistant.
“QCC is the only job I’ve ever had,” said Rey proudly, a life-long resident of Queens who identifies as West Indian/Caribbean. “QCC has a certain charm. I love working here. I have strong friendships with my co-workers. Family style relationships.”
Mitra pointed out that Rey knows how to encourage discouraged students to persevere. He engages them with compassion and gentle banter. This part of his job requires an innate ability to understand and appreciate different personalities.
And Rey excels in this area as he has served four Vice-Presidents with different leadership styles over the last 14 years starting with Ellen Hartigan (2006-2014), Michel Hodge (2014-2018), Brian Kerr (2018-2021) and then Ellen (2021) who returned in an interim role for a brief time until Brian Mitra (2021 - present) was hired.
“But no matter what the leadership is, I'm here to serve the students,” said Rey. “I’m called the QCC student whisperer,” he laughed.
Rey is especially enthusiastic about his role as Administrative Liaison to Queensborough's Lambda Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society since 2009. Rey works closely with Dr. Regina Sullivan, Associate Professor, Biology and Dr. Emily Sohmer Tai, Associate Professor, History and long-time advisor of the Lambda Sigma Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Chapter.
He advises students regarding their eligibility for PTK and encourages them to apply for "Golden Key" scholarships that help defray the cost of membership for students who can't manage the expense of the $65.00 lifetime membership fee.
Rey makes all the arrangements for the annual PTK induction ceremonies, making sure the refreshments are inclusive of vegetarian and Halal options. He monitors the RSVPs from students and their family members. On graduation day, it's Rey who orders the stoles and tassels – and he is always one of the first to cheer them on as they prepare to walk across the commencement stage!
“Over nearly two decades, I've never seen Rey skip a beat, drop a ball, or lose his composure,” said Mitra.
Rey says he often reflects on QCC’s students’ remarkable ability to keep going, to challenge themselves, and to ultimately succeed in their studies and in their personal lives.
“I openly identify myself as queer so that other young black men can take pride in who they are and pay it forward.”
Rey closed by saying, “The pandemic has caused permanent ripple effects. We will not ever go back to normal, but maybe that’s a good thing. I’d like to see us create a new normal. New space for change. New perspectives to try something new. A voice for the voiceless.”