Nine Questions with Maria Segura – CARTA REAL Triumph Graduate Spring 2022


After successful open-heart surgery in 2015, Maria Segura dedicated her second chance at life to helping others and chasing her dreams. A Masters’s student of Interior Architecture, Maria has combined her love of architecture and her passion for people to make a positive impact.  

CARTA News caught up with Maria to talk about her aspirations, achievements, and plans after graduation this April.

In 2015 you underwent open-heart surgery, that must have been terrifying! Walk us through that experience. 

2015 was a year that changed my life completely. I used to consider it one of the worst years of my life, but I have realized it was truly one of the best. My heart surgery was scary, but I gained a new life opportunity with a lot of wonderful experiences that made me realize how sacred life is. “Live everyday like it’s your last” may be a common phrase, but when you are staring at death face to face, it takes on a completely different meaning.  

Tell us your secret, how did you maintain such a high academic standard as a master’s student?

Honestly, my secret is so simple… love what you do! When you wake up with a passion for what you do, it is easy to work hard toward your dreams. Other vital ingredients in my formula are determination, conviction, persistence, positivity, patience, and trusting myself.  

What is the Heart House?  

 When I joined TOM GLOBAL FIU as part of the Leadership Team, we worked in partnership with the cardiac team of Nicklaus Hospital Miami to develop an educational toy that simplified the process of correctional surgery for children and their families, making it easier to understand their conditions and what is to come. Because of my personal experience with open-heart surgery, I had a deep connection with this project. I participated heavily in the development of the Heart House and went the extra mile to create a friendly Superhero, Super Flash Beat, who would inspire and serve as a companion to those facing Congenital Heart Repair surgery.  

What made you want to go into Interior Architecture as a career? 

When I was studying Architecture in Costa Rica, I felt there was a missing connector between architecture and people. Interior Design; Architecture provides the base, the main shape, and shelter, but the real connection with the user happens through Interior Architecture. Therefore, I decided to pursue my master’s degree in Interior Architecture at FIU  

You seem to have a passion for working with children and younger students, where does that come from? 

My passion comes from my personal life experience; my heart surgery took place in a children’s hospital (Nicklaus Hospital in Miami). I noticed that children have no fear, their innocence creates a positivity which helps them face challenging situations and supports a speedy recovery process. 

Is there someone or something that inspires you to do what you do? 

My parents are my biggest inspirations. They both emigrated from their native countries for a better life and opportunities. My father fled to Miami during Fidel Castro’s occupation of Cuba, and my mother moved from Nicaragua to Costa Rica during the Nicaraguan revolution. They have shown me what a real warrior is and taught me to fight to make my dreams a reality. 

What do you plan to do post-graduation? 

After graduation, I intend to work for an Interior Architecture firm to complete the necessary hours to become a Registered Interior Designer. I eventually want to open my own international design firm operating between Costa Rica and Miami! To build my personal brand, I started a blog on Instagram and Facebook that have almost 11, 000 followers combined! You are more than welcome to check it out! @msarquitecturaeinteriores 

As a Costa Rican Native, does your culture and heritage influence your designs and aesthetic? 

Of course! Although I consider myself a world citizen due to my multicultural background, Costa Rica is my first home and has influenced the basis of many designs. My parents’ Cuban and Nicaraguan cultures along with my experiences in Miami also play a huge part in how I view design. 

As one of FIU’s Real Triumph Graduates, what would you say is your biggest Triumph? 

My biggest Triumph is being alive to make all my dreams a reality. Anything is possible when you believe in yourself and your personal power. I arrived at FIU in 2018, and this April I will graduate with my master’s degree in Interior Architecture. I am so grateful for the ups and downs, experiences, and memories that have helped me grow and become a better version of myself. I plan to put all I have learned to effective use by assisting others in improving their quality of life. 

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