Mona Segura on UTEP, Family, and Sunshine
How did you make it to Political Science?
I was looking for a new position… and a position in Political Science opened up and I was interested because my whole family is very interested in the subject. My husband, Frank, is very interested in politics and everything that is going on in the country. My children are also very interested in politics and world events. I have a daughter and son in law who graduated from UTEP in political science. They were mentored by Dr. Webking and Dr. Weaver. They went on to law school and then came back to El Paso and are attorneys here. And they are so involved and imagine all the conversations at our Christmas dinners and other family gatherings… For me, I’m mostly a listener and find it very interesting. I’m not so much of a news person but I do love learning all about other countries because my father was in the army and we grew up living all over the world. So it is more in the interest in other countries and other people. I lived in Germany twice during my growing up years, in Panama for about five years. So my father was stationed all over as he served in the army for 29 years—18 years of my life. It was new culture, new food, and new ways to get along and learn from others about how governments and society work in different places. And they say some military kids are not always happy but I loved it, loved living all over the world. And so I’ve loved working with faculty who study so much about different countries, especially Dr. Kruszewski who is always talking about his experiences. So I did all of my traveling until I was 18 years old and I’ve been in El Paso ever since.
Can you talk about a particular topic of discussion that stands out from your time here?
There were so many interesting conversations, but the 9/11 attacks stand out the most in my time here. The 9/11 memories are very strong. We actually had a TV down here and people were all coming down to check the latest developments. So I was here before the attacks and that was before Anne came but we had a television from the back store room. The TV was here when I first arrived but I don’t watch TV during lunch or anything so I moved it to the store room. But when we heard about the 9/11 attacks, we ran to get the TV and plugged it back in. And so we had it on all day to see what was going on. And the faculty came by and we all kept up with the headlines being posted and information that was coming in.
Looking ahead, what about your family plans with Frank moving forward?
I was originally an English major but I’m not interested in English anymore so now I am interested in working towards a Master’s in Theology and Pastoral Studies. And I’m going to be working more closely in ministry with my husband, Frank. He works with programs in marriage and family life and these are areas we’ve both worked in and that I can now do more with. I feel like this is a great time for family for me, to have more time to spend with Frank and more time with my grandchildren. So this gives me more time to visit with my children and grandchildren, more time to go to daily mass, ministry, and more time for writing in my journal. And also more time for swimming! I really love to swim. And I am just very excited to have more time with my husband. I feel it is the right time and there will be changes in my life and some will be tough but I know that change will be good for me.
How do you visualize that change?
Sometimes change seems like a bad thing but change is really how we grow. It’s also scary to make the change… because I have loved my position here. I loved working with the students, I loved working with the faculty, I loved everything about my job here. To me, I have been here in the perfect job. I loved everything about it—the phone calls and the students—everything. So sometimes it feels scary, but it is also like the sun is shining around the corner and you can see the light there, you know? And you are going to turn the corner and you see the rays are coming. And you know you need to and you want to just peek around the corner first but you know it is sunshine. And we are in Sun City, after all! (laughs) So I know I am supposed to turn that corner and meet that sunshine for my next steps. Many times God invites us to make changes in our lives and so for me I see it as that sunshine telling me to go forward. But just to say one last thing… I just really want to say that UTEP has been so very good to me and all my time here has been with the very best people. I have been truly blessed and will miss everyone dearly!