Kimberly Fuqua, a 2019 graduate of UNCP, recently graduated from Cornell University with a Master of Public Administration degree focusing on education policy.
A standout student at Cornell, Fuqua was one of three marshals selected from the graduate programs during the May 29 commencement ceremony. She was also one of three Cornell Institute for Public Affairs Diversity and Inclusion Fellow. Fuqua served as co-president of Cornell's Indigenous Graduate Student Association and Cornell's Women in Public Policy. She participated in three summer internships, partnering with the Iroquois Nationals Development Group to create an educational curriculum to help Native lacrosse players have a better shot at college.
Additionally, Fuqua was awarded the Community Outreach Award by the Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement and the Cornell Graduate School. The award focused on her work at Akwe:kon, the nation's first residence hall established for American Indians.
A Lumberton native and member of the Lumbee Tribe, she credits her UNCP professors with preparing her continued academic success at Cornell. Her UNCP degree is in special education.
"Gleaning from UNCP faculty allowed me to go into the Ivy League with a perspective that allowed me to tap into my greatness when there were many days that I felt I did not belong," Fuqua said.
"My professors at UNCP always supported my Cornell journey, whether it was sending cards, shooting me an email or social media support. I give credit to Dr. Roger Ladd and Dr. Gretchen Robinson for challenging me academically to perform my best. These professors forced me to think hard and challenged me to think outside my norm. Also, being involved with student activities and working for campus recreation paved the way for me to be involved at Cornell's campus as the Indigenous Graduate Student Association co-president, while teaching Zumba simultaneously. I am thankful for my time at UNCP as it generated a spirit of success within me."
Fuqua plans to pursue a career in higher education to advocate for minorities and students with disabilities and work in policy to ensure a fair and appropriate education for students in public schools.