For immediate release: October 8, 2008
Media Contact: Christopher Falkenhagen
Communications: (410) 260-4511
MHEC nominee earns Hispanic Heritage Award UMBC student
is named “Leader on the Rise” by Governor O’Malley panel
ANNAPOLIS, MD (October 8, 2008) – An outstanding student
from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)
known for volunteerism and commitment to bettering society,
recently was chosen to receive a 2008 Hispanic Heritage
Award sponsored by Governor Martin O’Malley’s Commission on
Hispanic Affairs. The student, Lucia Zegarra, was tapped to
receive the distinction of “Leader on the Rise,” one of 12
outstanding Hispanic Americans to earn such recognition.
Lucia was nominated for the award by Genny Segura, the
Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC)’s Senior
Education Policy Analyst who also serves as Higher Education
Secretary James E. Lyons, Sr.’s, designee on the Governor’s
Commission on Hispanic Affairs. Lucia was chosen for her
award by nine independent judges on September 24. She will
be honored at the Hispanic Heritage Awards ceremony on
October 15. Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony G.
Brown have been invited to attend.
“I am pleased that Ms. Segura had the vision to realize that
Ms. Zegarra is an outstanding person, student and volunteer
and nominated her for this award,” Secretary Lyons said.
“MHEC’s commitment to the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic
Affairs is strong. Ms. Segura has been an active participant
at seminars and forums sponsored by the Hispanic Commission
held throughout the State.”
The Commission on Hispanic Affairs was re-established by
Governor O’Malley after being abolished during his
predecessor’s term. It serves as a resource to ensure the
economic, educational, health, political and social
well-being of Maryland’s Hispanics. It envisions an active
and productive Hispanic community united and empowered to
reach its full potential.
Lucia Zegarra is a Peruvian native living in Silver Spring.
She is currently a pre-med biology major at UMBC. Her
long-term goal is to establish a non-profit organization to
provide free bilingual mental and physical health services
not only to the underprivileged members of the local
community, but also to third world countries.
Since she was nine-years-old, Lucia felt that she could not
be happy if others were suffering. In Peru, she visited
children’s hospitals every weekend to play with abandoned
children. Later she became the coordinator of a social help
project for a school confirmation program tutoring children
of uneducated parents.
In 2002, Lucia moved to California, and started her
volunteer work in the States by volunteering at Tahoe
Women’s Services and Hospice. As a domestic violence
survivor, she partnered with her mother obtaining a crisis
intervention certification to help other women as well as
children who witnessed violence.
Lucia moved to Maryland in 2006 and enrolled in Montgomery
College. She became a member of the Honors Renaissance
Scholars, Latino Student Union and the Student Affairs
Board. She was involved in planning fundraising events to
benefit the local community as well as students in Central
America. She participated in various panels raising
awareness for the costs of education, the rising trend of
teenage pregnancies and the growing educational needs of
Latinos. She also worked with Centro Familia & Community
Bridges as a speaker and event organizer for their bilingual
conference: Women, Power, and World.
For the past year she has worked for Catholic Charities at a
multicultural day program for individuals who suffer from
homelessness and mental illness. She leads bilingual,
psycho-educational groups to help these individuals succeed
through peer support and art therapy.
The Maryland Higher Education Commission is a 12-member
coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide
policies for Maryland public and independent colleges and
universities and private career schools. It serves as an
advocate for more than 326,000 college students in Maryland,
for the State and its needs, and for business and industry