Diana Gonzalez currently serves as Interim Secretary of Higher Education for the State of New Jersey, a role she began on July 6, 2020. Previously, Gonzalez served as Deputy Secretary of Higher Education, a position she began in January 2018 as part of Governor Phil Murphy’s administration.
As Interim Secretary, Gonzalez is responsible for policy development and coordination of higher education activities for the state, including assisting institutions in their restart of operations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. She works closely with the Governor’s Office to manage office operations, liaise with state higher education leaders, and coordinate priority initiatives to enhance equitable educational opportunities for all students across the state. Gonzalez also works with industry partners to help position New Jersey's institutions of higher education as engines of economic growth and innovation in the state by increasing public-private partnerships and cultivating more research and development.
Gonzalez previously worked on Governor Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign, during which she served as Policy Advisor and Outreach Director.
Gonzalez earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Rutgers University and later began her career as an early childhood teacher. After completing her Master of Education degree at Rutgers, she went on to work in several different capacities within higher education. During her time at Rutgers, Gonzalez served as a representative to the Board of Trustees, was a member of the University Senate, and was a course instructor and graduate assistant.
She has worked directly with students, providing career advice and guidance during her time at Princeton University’s Center for Career Development. She also worked at Georgetown University as the Resident Director for the Community Scholars Program for first-generation college students from underrepresented groups and economically-disadvantaged backgrounds. Throughout her career, Gonzalez has researched critical issues in higher education such as campus sexual assault, federal and state law and policy, and sociological factors involved in African American and Latino males’ progression from high school to college.
Gonzalez previously served as a board member of the Cuban American Alliance for Leadership & Education, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering students in New Jersey communities through academic scholarships, professional development, and cultural immersion. She volunteers for New York City Relief, a nonprofit organization working to end homelessness, poverty, and addiction.
Gonzalez has also traveled to Cuba to conduct research on higher education, community development, and sustainability. A devoted citizen of New Jersey, she has also traveled extensively, living years abroad in Japan and Australia.