Ms. Carmen D Lopez

Executive Director
Pena Blanca, New Mexico
United States

Focus Areas

Economic Security
Community Development
Economic Development
Higher Education
Racial Equity & Healing
Indigenous Communities
Social Justice
Gender Issues
Youth Development
Parenting / Fatherhood / Motherhood


Carmen Lopez is a citizen of the Navajo Nation, is from the Forest Lake area of Black Mesa, Arizona and she also grew up in Farmington, New Mexico. Carmen is of the Bitter Water clan born for the Anglo clan; her maternal grandfathers clan is Many Goats and her paternal grandfathers clan is Anglo. Carmen is the Executive Director of College Horizons Inc., a national educational non-profit based on the Santa Ana Pueblo near Bernalillo, New Mexico. College Horizons supports the higher education of Native American students by providing pre-college (College Horizons) and pre-graduate (Graduate Horizons) summer programs open to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian high school and college students from across the nation. College completion is the primary measure of College Horizons success, we report that of the 2,900 high school students served to date, 99% are admitted to a 4 year institution, 95% matriculate to college (30% to selective and highly selective institutions), and 85% have graduated from college in four and five years! College Horizons is founded on the premise that bright and talented Native American high school students do not receive quality college-counseling and academic advising. College Horizons is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to college-access and pre-graduate programs servicing a Native American cohort that uniquely partners with 50 Colleges/Universities and expert college counselors and American Indian educators. Under the current CH Alumni Program, staff follow-up with participants throughout their college and graduate careers to encourage degree completion and assist students as an external source of support. Students are mentored and taught by a team of admissions officers and graduate faculty members, guidance counselors, American Indian educators, and partner organizations on the college/graduate admission and financial aid process. Prior to College Horizons, Carmen served for five years as the Executive Director of the Harvard University Native American Program (HUNAP) located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In her efforts to build a vibrant intellectual community committed to Native American Studies at Harvard, Carmen oversaw the operation of the university-wide Interfaculty Initiative under the Office of the Provost which focused on American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian recruitment and student support; interdisciplinary teaching and research projects on Native issues; and community outreach. Carmen also served as a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Committee on Ethnic Studies, The Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, Admissions Reader for the Harvard Kennedy Schools’ Master in Public Policy program, and a Reader and Site Visitor for the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Developments’ Honoring Nations Program. In her early educational career, Carmen served on the faculty of Cushing Academy located in Ashburnham, MA and the Native American Preparatory School located in Rowe, NM where she taught United States History, American Studies, and American Politics and Government. Carmen received her A.B. in History modified with Native American Studies from Dartmouth College and her Ed.M. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Carmen volunteers her time with the College Board’s College Access Initiatives, Gates Millennium Scholars Advisory Council, Indian Dispute Resolution Services Inc., and the Dartmouth College Alumni Association’s Native American and Women’s Volleyball Alumni councils. Carmen enjoys running and being outdoors; she is an avid Formula One racing fan; enjoys reading literature and science-fiction; collecting Navajo folk art; and she also enjoys spending time rediscovering the world with her three children.