Ida Castro, vice president for social justice and diversity for The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC), cites her most vital influence: her parents’ unwavering belief in education, hard work, perseverance and pride.
“My parents taught me by example that poverty or limited means should not be an obstacle to being creative, ingenious, determined and successful.They encouraged high expectations in education, which resulted in my pursuit of my master’s degree and law degree, even though it meant great sacrifice for my daughter and I as I completed both degrees in evening programs while working and raising her as a single head of household,” she said.
Becoming the first lawyer in her family, she was privileged to serve her country as a presidential appointee. “Perhaps even more importantly, I was privileged to see the gleam in my parents’ eyes when they saw the vice president of the United States swearing their daughter into office!
“My advice is to dare to dream, stay with your dreams, and work hard to achieve them. If you shoot for the sun, even if the arrow doesn’t make it all the way, it will still fall among the stars,” said Castro.
She is responsible for the development and maintenance of an inclusive academic and work environment that not only meets TCMC’s mission and commitment to create community-based physicians, but also fulfills its commitment to service and discovery. She works with faculty, administrators, students and the community to identify strategies that will effectively assist in achieving these goals.
Her first job as a substitute teacher instilled respect for all good teachers. “As the daughter of two individuals who exceeded every expectation given their limited formal education, this experience re-affirmed in me the belief my parents had always shared — education is the bridge to prosperity...the equalizer,” she said.
Castro was aided along the way by the many who were able to see in her what she could be, not just who she was. She believes it is important to recognize and value these people who provide such invaluable support.
In her spare time, she enjoys music, dancing, good novels and films and theatre. She has a “wonderful” daughter who is an MSW in New Jersey.