Celina Gomez is a member of GPN's 2024 Class of Forty Under 40 honorees
40 Under 40, Class of 2024

Celina Gomez


Purdue University

Job Title

Associate professor


What professional and/or personal accomplishments are you most proud of?

  • Seeing my students succeed in life, both professionally and personally
  • Being offered the opportunity to join the faculty at my Ph.D. alma mater, Purdue University
  • Becoming a colleague to my mentors — having developed great friendships with my mentors

What led you to work in the horticulture industry? 

  • My father studied agricultural sciences, so I grew up hearing stories about his fun times in college.
  • While studying the same, I fell in love with hydroponics and decided to pursue horticulture as a major in graduate school. 

What’s the best thing about your job? 

  • That I get to learn from a variety of people, including industry members, research colleagues and students in the classroom or laboratory.

Describe to a 6-year-old what you do in life? 

  • I am a professor at a university and I teach students how to grow plants indoors.
  • We look for ways to help plant growers make good use of technology. 


What are your favorite hobbies? 

  • Swimming
  • Traveling
  • Eating

When you’re not working, what are two to three things we could find you doing? 

  • Walking my dogs
  • Swimming, biking and running
  • Chatting with family or friends

Fun Facts

Do you have any unusual talents, or can you tell us something interesting about yourself that other people may be surprised to find out? 

  • I started doing triathlons when I was a Ph.D. student. I stopped for 10 years and picked it up again in 2022.
  • I recently completed my first half Ironman and I’m considering doing a full Ironman for my 40th birthday. 

One thing you can’t live without? 

  • My two dogs

What are you (un)secretly good at? 

  • I make the best lasagna.

What are your top three bucket list items? 

  • Buy beachfront property in my home country of Costa Rica
  • Work at an animal sanctuary after I retire
  • Complete a full Ironman in Italy

What’s your favorite plant variety and why? 

  • Ginkgo biloba because it has so many unique characteristics and the prettiest fall color. 

You’re buying a vacation package to anywhere in the world without a budget, where are you going? 

  • Somewhere in Africa to visit a wildlife reserve