LUMBERTON — A Lumberton native and member of the Lumbee Tribe has defied odds stacked against her to graduate from Cornell University in a quest to be an advocate for others.
Kimberly Fuqua graduated in May from Cornell University with a Master of Public Administration degree focusing on social educational policy. The 39-year-old served as one of three marshals selected from the graduate programs during the May 29 commencement ceremony. A standout student at Cornell, she was also one of three Cornell Institute for Public Affairs Diversity and Inclusion Fellows.
Fuqua also 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.
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. Fuqua also said she is interested in working in government someday.
“I want people to understand that their voice matters,” Fuqua said.
Fuqua said her journey was not easy, and her persistence helped her push open doors to opportunity.
“I basically grew up in a trailer park,” Fuqua said.
“I had very meek, humble…