The phone rang unexpectedly at 11 p.m. Dr. SimonPeter Gomez was watching the Boston Celtics with his father during winter break from his senior year at Bridgewater College when he answered the call.
Mike Foley, his father’s former student, needed help preparing for dissertation comprehensive exams. His father’s willingness to assist students regardless of circumstance struck home for him.
“I realized I wanted a career where I could develop such relationships and have that kind of impact on someone’s life; where they felt they could contact me out of the blue without warning and the student would know that I would be there for them,” said Gomez.
“If just one of my students sees me the way Mike Foley saw my father, then I will feel like I did something good in my life.”
Junior political science major McKayla Parmele finds Gomez’s mindset unique.
“Dr. Gomez reaches out to all his students to develop a personal connection,” said Parmele. “You really feel like he cares about not only your college career but your well-being too.”
The political science program coordinator has experience in the same requirements and demands as Reinhardt’s program and believes it prepares students for any job field, in private or public sectors, and provides various opportunities, such as interdisciplinary courses, study abroad, service learning and internships.
“The major conditions students to approach political and social questions and problems objectively, apply the scientific method rigorously and draw general conclusions with theoretical and practical applications,” he said.
Gomez takes pride in the program’s association with the Georgia Legislative Internship Program, witnessing the first three Reinhardt applicants’ acceptance and completion of the program in spring 2018. The internship is a full-time semester long experience at the state Capitol in Atlanta and is highly competitive. The three students now attend various law schools.
From profession to hobbies, Gomez remains connected to his late father, who he began running with at 9 years old.
“I got into running when my father took it up during a typically harsh New England winter. My siblings and I thought it was fun to join my father as he trudged through the snow. Over time, it became a regular opportunity for quality time with him. I can still feel him with me every time I lace up my shoes to go out for a run.”