Lourdes Maria Thebaud Program Director Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) Fulton Montgomery Community College
How did you get to where you are today? I was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated with my family to the United States at the early age of five. I grew up in Amsterdam, NY, where I attended school and participated in many activities including Cheerleading, Latino Awareness within Society, and Peer Leadership. During High School, I participated in the Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute, and became empowered to become a leader for my Latino community and help underrepresented minorities. After graduating High School, I attended Hudson Valley Community College/ The New School of Radio and Television where I obtained my Associates Degree in Journalism and won an award for having the highest GPA in the class. I then transferred into the University at Albany and completed my Bachelors in Communications in 2010. While at SUNY Albany, I was on the Executive Board of the Tau Sigma Honor Society, was a member of Fuerza Latina, and had the amazing experience of studying abroad in Montpellier, France. Once I completed my Bachelors, I went on to work as a Bilingual Producer at the Senate Media Services for the New York State Legislature. There, I conducted interviews with Latino legislators about pressing issues within New York State government. During my time in the legislature, I also went to work for the Office of Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera as a Legislative Assistant. In 2012, I was awarded a Legislative Fellowship in which I had the opportunity to travel to Russia and visit different governmental offices located in Syktyvkar, Moscow, and St. Petersburg. My experience working with at risk youth through a volunteer opportunity led me to discover my desire to work with college students. I realized the impact I can have on someone’s life and I wanted to make sure I was able to do that through my career. For that reason, I continued my education and obtained my Master's degree in Higher Education Administration from the University at Albany in 2014. I am currently the Director of the Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) for Fulton Montgomery Community College. I continue to support underrepresented students who are interested in pursuing a career in the STEM fields by providing them with adequate resources that are critical to their success. I hope that my work and leadership will inspire the students to become pro-active in their own communities and become the future leaders in their perspective careers. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why? My mom has been the most influential person in my life. She has not only instilled in me the morals and values that make up the woman I am, but she has always pushed me to strive for excellence. Her unconditional support has helped me get to where I am today. How did you decide on your college major OR the career you have chosen? and how do you see your choice as an opportunity to help your community? When I was pursuing my Bachelors, many of my friends were involved in opportunity programs where they received mentoring and support, and I always wished I had received that same type of support. After graduating college, I discovered my passion for working with students while volunteering for the Liberty Partnership Program, a program that mentors and advises at-risk youth to become college ready. I realized the impact that a mentor/advisor can have on a student and therefore I felt a drive to do so. Therefore, I went on to pursue my Masters in Higher Education, and am currently working in a program that supports underrepresented students within my community, as well as from other regions of the state. What is your Latino / Hispanic Heritage? Dominican Best memory of growing up. The best memory growing up has to be celebrating Thanksgiving and our annual tradition of putting up the Christmas tree as a family. Best memory of a day at school or work. I have many great memories of college, but the best of them all was graduation day for my Associates, Bachelors and then my Masters. Seeing the look on my mom's face was just priceless. The best memory of a day at work was the first time I attended our college's commencement and seeing my students graduate. It was so fulfilling seeing them accomplish such a milestone, and knowing how much work it took them to get there. I felt like a proud "mom". Best day ever. My wedding day was probably the most memorable day so far! We were surrounded by all of our family and friends and had an unforgettable night. Where did you go to College and what was your focus/major OR what College are you attending and what is your major? I received my Associates in Journalism from Hudson Valley Community College. I then transferred to the University at Albany and graduated with my Bachelors in Communications. Later on I completed my Master's in Higher Education Administration also at the University at Albany. Best book you ever read. Hard to choose but I really enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert Favorite quote? "Life is a journey, not a destination" By Ralph Waldo Emerson Favorite sports team. Brazil National Football Team Favorite song El Farolito by Juan Luis Guerra Message you would share with all young Latinos reading your story. Learn to take opportunities when they come, never settle for less, embrace what you are passionate about, live in the moment, and never give up. Just as the quote says "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," always stay optimistic when things do not go your way and make the best out of any situation you are in. Life will throw curve balls at you, but being resilient is what defines us. And as you climb that ladder of success, always remember to reach down with your other hand to help someone climb that ladder too.
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