Carmen was born in Chicago, Illinois. She is a graduate of Illinois State University in Normal, Ill where she earned an undergraduate degree in Comprehensive Social Science in Secondary Education and a Master of Science degree in Guidance and Counseling. In 1975 she began working at Frostburg State University in the Residence Life Office as Assistant Director. After eight years she was promoted to Director of Residence Life and served in that capacity for 15 years. In 1998 she was promoted to Assistant to the Vice President of Student and Educational Services and Director of the Diversity Center. She served in that capacity until her retirement after 30 years of service.
Carmen was a member of professional organizations such as the Mid-Atlantic Association of College and University Housing Officers; the Association of College and University Housing Officers; the National Association of Black Social Workers and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.