University at Albany
 
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver presents the Speaker's Certificate of Recognition to Kimberly Segura, May 13, 2013.

Commencement Stories: Kimberly Segura, Class of 2014

On commencement day with her parents and grandparents looking on, Kimberly Segura, Class of 2014, will have the honor of carrying the Rockefeller College flag in the University at Albany graduation procession. She'll also be proudly carrying the hopes and dreams of a family whose love, courage and sacrifice have been a constant source of inspiration to her.

alt
Kimberly Segura (center) receives the 2014 Chancellor's
Award for Student Excellence from SUNY Chancellor Nancy L.
Zimpher (left)
accompanied by Christine Bouchard, Vice
President for Student Success at UAlbany.

For Segura, who will receive her bachelor's degree in public policy May 18, enrolling in Rockefeller College's combined BA/MPA program was an opportunity not to be missed.

Segura is unstoppable whether she's tackling a demanding course load, rolling up her sleeves to help with Habitat for Humanity or for the post-Irene cleanup effort in Schoharie County, handling 24/7 responsibilities as a resident assistant in Alumni Quad, or supervising production and editing of  student television programming at ATV 360/Albany Student Television.

What drives her? "My family," Segura says without hesitation. "I don't want a second or a day to go by where I don't feel like I'm making them proud." The only child of Colombian immigrants who settled on Long Island after coming to the U.S. in search of opportunity when they were teens, Segura is quick to credit her parents Patty and Jaime with making it possible for her to be one of the first in her family to earn a college education. "My parents aren't wealthy," says Segura. "They worked hard to put me through school and give me opportunities they've never had. They've always stressed the importance of education. Thanks to them, I'm graduating with no loans."

The Segura family has reason to be proud. Kimberly is a founding member of the Rockefeller College Dean's Leadership Council. She is active in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Albany Chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, and the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. Four years in a row she has been the recipient of the University's Spellman Achievement Award, which recognizes the academic achievements of African American, Latino, Asian American, and Native American men and women studying at the University at Albany. This year she will receive the Spellman Achievement Award for Leadership.

In addition to getting her B.A., Segura will graduate with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. "It's where my roots are," she says with a smile. "I've always wanted to know more about the history of the region." In a little over a year, she will have completed her Master of Public Administration. Her long-term goal is to work for the Department of State in Washington, D.C., where she hopes to play a role in developing policies that strengthen the bonds between the U.S. and Latin America.

Preparation for that dream job has already begun. This semester, she's working as a research assistant/intern with the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus in Albany. In spring 2013, as a New York State Assembly intern assigned to the office of Speaker Sheldon Silver, Kimberly had a birds-eye view of the policymaking process. One of the highlights of her academic career − in addition to receiving the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence − was receiving the Speaker's Certificate of Recognition for successfully leading the 33rd Class of the New York State Assembly Interns in a three-hour mock legislative session at the New York State Capitol. "Seeing my mom and grandmother in the front row with tears in their eyes was something no one can ever take away from me," recalls Kimberly. "If they believe in me, I know I can do anything."