2023 Kate Stoneman Awards Honor Alumnae Trailblazers
The Albany Law School community celebrated three esteemed alumnae during the 29th annual Kate Stoneman Day on March 23.
Kate Stoneman Day—Albany Law School’s annual celebration of women in law, named for its first female graduate and the first woman to practice law in New York—brought energy and inspiration to the community.
Hon. Teneka E. Frost ’02—Schenectady’s first Black City Court judge—was the recipient of the prestigious Miriam M. Netter '72 Kate Stoneman Award.
Additionally, Hon. Patricia Marks ’74, the first female full-time Assistant District Attorney in the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, and Secretary Alejandra N. Paulino ’02, the first Latina to serve as the Secretary of the New York Senate were honored with Kate Stoneman awards.
Judge Frost was introduced by Glinnesa Gailliard ’07, a friend and fellow National Alumni Association board member.
“[She is] is a trailblazer not only trailblazing the possibilities for her family, but trailblazing the possibilities for every woman of color and every attorney of color going through and trying to be a judge,” she said. “The impact that had and has currently has on every other woman of color trying to forge that same path, go that same route. She's now the example.”
Growing up in Albany, Judge Frost saw family members fall into one of two cycles, incarceration for men and teenage pregnancy for women. Her parents were 16 and 18 when they started their family and Frost was labeled a “high-risk student” in high school.
At Albany Law School, Judge Frost was Northeast regional director of the National Black Law Students Association, regional representative of the Albany Law School Black Law Students Association (BLSA), and a member of the law school’s Moot Court Board.
In 2005, she was selected for a post-graduate fellowship in government law and policy at Albany Law School’s Government Law Center, during which time she also served as an elected member of the Board of Education for the City School District of Albany.
In 2018, she was appointed as a city court judge by Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy. In 2021, she began the United Against Crime Community Action Network (U-CAN), a program where first-time offenders 18-25 years old with no criminal record can learn from mentors and work on self-improvement in a year-long program.
“Today I not only get to tell my story, but tell it through the lens of Kate Stoneman. I admire leaders, people who are bold enough to say, I'm going to change the world and then pave their own path to do it. Kate Stoneman did that. She was a visionary. She didn't waste an opportunity. She fulfilled her purpose to use her education to uplift her community,” she said. “She was boldened, unapologetic in her fight to overcome sexism and personal obstacles to achieve greatness. And she had quite the class of friends that supported her and helped her achieve her goals. Because of the efforts of Kate Stoneman, I arrived at Albany Law School in a supportive environment for women, but there were still challenges present for me and my classmates who were students of color. Kate Stoneman, who had been practicing law for 12 years and was 55 years old when she walked into this building, her identity as a woman was fully established. And just like my identity as a black woman had given me, it gave her the confidence she needed to forge ahead despite the naysayers”
Hon. Patricia Marks ’74 was introduced by Heidi Schult Gregory ’93, a 2016 Kate Stoneman Award winner and member of the Greater Rochester Association of Women Attorneys.
“[Hon. Marks] is a role model and mentor to the legal community. And despite her retirement from the bench over a decade ago, she continues to mentor and lead by example for women in the profession. Her abilities to read the room and to handle the most challenging of conversations with grace and diplomacy are her leadership hallmarks,” she said.
Judge Marks was the first female full-time Assistant District Attorney in the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, and then years later became the first female County Judge elected in Monroe County. She served as a County Court Judge for 25 years and retired in 2011. She was the first woman elected to the county court in 1984 and served as supervising judge following her 1994 appointment by New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.
Judge Marks also presided over the Judicial Diversion Program and Veterans Court, which she created, and played a key role in establishing the Monroe County Mental Health Court. She is the author of 27 published legal decisions and several New York State Bar Journal articles.
“I want to express my gratitude to many people, including Heidi and all the members of the Greater Rochester Association of Women Attorneys. They reminded me of the importance of bringing the ladder down, contacting people, encouraging all lawyers, all new lawyers, young lawyers, and especially women and minorities to be engaged in the practice because it's an amazing career I've had,” she said. “As I've gone through Albany Law School today and seen the changes, the number of women here and the women who are just so talented and interested in the efforts to deal with the issues [such as] domestic violence. Some things haven't changed, but I think this class of Albany Law School here, whom I've met today, is going to change some of that.”
Secretary Alejandra Paulino was introduced by Isabella Napodano ’24, Co-Chair of the Women's Leadership Initiative (WLI) and Public Relations Chair of the Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA).
“When I came to law school, I learned that currently Latinas in the legal profession suffer the lowest representation of any racial or ethnic group as compared to their overall presence in the national population. Despite representing one in four women in the United States, Latinas comprise less than 1% of lawyers. Latina women typically earn 57% less than white men in 28% less than white women. We desperately need Latina representation in every legal field,” she said. “And to see one Latina become the first secretary of the New York State Senate brings me hope and pride. Her story teaches us not to be discouraged by the lack of representation in higher positions of power. Instead, it inspires us to be the change we want to see.”
Paulino was elected by members of the State Senate in 2019 and serves as chief administrative officer to the Senate and its 16 departments. She has increased access to resources and worked to improve working conditions at the New York State Senate. She has updated the Senate’s sexual harassment policies and has added cultural competency to the training for all Senate employees.
She has spent her career in several different government offices and adjacent groups. She got her start as a Senate fellow and has since served in the Majority Counsel’s Office as Crime, Crime Victims, and Correction Committee Counsel and Team Counsel for Public Protection.
She has been an adjunct professor at Albany Law School since 2016 teaching Election Law. She also serves on the Government Law Center Advisory Board.
In 2019, she was the recipient of the Capital District Black and Hispanic Bar Association’s 2019 Trail Blazer Award.
While at Albany Law School, she participated in Moot Court and was a member of the Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA) and the Black Law Students Association (BLSA).
“It's been a long journey here. It really has been, especially someone who wasn't born here. Most of my family doesn't live here. And for many of you out there who probably like me, grew up with family in another country [and during] was times like this that you needed people or would want to celebrate with, they couldn't because they were a plane ride away,” she said. “So, for me, this is such a treat, not just because of what this is and what it represents. I have this community here in Albany. A lot has been invested in me.”
She thanked her family and mentors who gave her a chance over the years, particularly members of the New York State Senate and James E. Long, who she worked for before joining the state government.
“They've always believed in me when I didn't know even who I was. And that's so powerful for someone who really, when they walked out of the capitol, didn't see anybody else that looked like them. The New York State Senate for me, had always been the place that I went to. It is still home for me because there were people from all over…as you continue and you become trailblazers in your own right, I will say get that person and be that person to others who says “I see you.”
Kate Stoneman student award winners
- 1st Place
- Najet Miah '25
- 2nd Place
- Tara Halterman '24, Ariel Gougeon '24, Brit Rios '23 Tai White '23, Michelle Viera '23, and Priscila Galambos '24
- 3rd Place
- Brenda Gonzalez '24
- Special Prize
- Women’s Law Caucus Submission
- Honorable Mention
- Elise I. Butler '23, Danielle Piccone '24, Andrea Shaut '26, Morgan Welling '23