AN ENTHUSIAST, ATHLETE , AND ASPIRING ATTORNEY
Naomie Kipulu was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2006, at age nine, her family won the immigration lottery to come to the USA. After her mother had a dream about resettling in Texas, her family moved to Fort Worth, Texas based on this very dream. Her family has since resided there. Naomie’s journey to becoming the woman that she is today has not at all been easy. In primary school, she was bullied because she never seemed to be wearing the “right” clothes and her low English proficiency at the time which made her feel unsafe at school. But, all this changed freshman year of high school, when Naomie became really good at Basketball. Basketball became an important part of her life as it taught her to be a hard worker and to overcome setbacks. As a student athlete, she was injured numerous times, but that never discouraged her. In fact, she went on to play in college at the University of Dubuque in Iowa.
It was at the college level that her leadership qualities begun to manifest. Although she was a student athlete, Naomie was highly involved on campus. She was the President of African Student Association, Vice President of Recruitment for Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority, Sophomore Representative in the Student Government Association, the Secretary for Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society and served as a Resident Assistant. People started looking up to her and that’s when she knew that God had placed her in that position to be able to bless others. So she did this by giving her time and effort to her campus community. During her senior year in college, she was awarded the University Leadership Award which is the highest leadership honor awarded by the university, given annually to one senior-level college student. It is given to the student who has shown commitment beyond personal gain, served fellow students, encouraged and promoted positive actions in others, and demonstrated in his/her personal life the true spirit of the Mission of the University. In the same year, she won the Student of the Year Award, an award given annually to recognize one undergraduate college student who exemplifies qualities of personal, college, and community achievement which the University seeks to honor. This student has an above average classroom record and is involved in campus and/or community activities. The Student of the Year is chosen by election of the University faculty and staff members. This was the first time in the school’s history where a student had received both of the awards in the same year.
Naomie’s involvement on campus did not take away from her studies, instead it enhanced her performance academically. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Dubuque in May 2018 with a bachelors in Business Administration and a minor in Communication endorsement) in May of 2018.
Being the first in her family to go on to graduate school, Naomie is currently at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin pursuing a Law degree. One of the struggles she deals with is being one of the few black female in the program and also being one of the youngest candidate at age 21. She has to work three times harder than her cohorts because she has to prove that she is just as competent as her colleagues. On top of dealing with racial microaggressions, she also deals with age discrimination because she didn’t come in with as much credentials. Besides being a minority on campus, she is also at a disadvantage because she came into the school without any legal experience. So there is a lot of pressure to learn at a speedy rate. But like she says, “I make Law School fun, so it’s never a dull moment, in and out of class.” Naomie has such a passion for positive living, she describes herself as, “the most fun, exciting and loving person you’ll ever meet! I make everything fun.” Being in Law School is a privilege that she doesn’t take for granted, so she gives a 110% in everything she does. She is a lover of people and a lover of knowledge. Naomie is also a fluent speaker of five languages including Kikongo,Lingala, French, English and Chinese.
In the summer of 2019, Naomie is looking forward to interning with the legal department at Harley-Davidson Motor Co. at their headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, this will not be Naomie’s first legal experience as she is currently working as a volunteer at the Marquette Legal Clinic in Milwaukee. The road to success isn’t always easy, but when you are as motivated and you intentionally commit like Naomie, no obstacle is too big to discourage you. Naomie shared with us that she has struggled with anxiety since she was 12 years. Her first anxiety attack left her traumatized to the point that she was always fearful that something might happen again. Unfortunately this disorder has been part of her journey and has made it quite difficult for her because she went to college far away from home. She shared a bittersweet story with us, that she had a panic attack while watching The Bachelor, and her Doctor warned her against attending big events such as concerts and games. However, Naomie continues to find humor and joy in every situation she finds herself in, even at the length of not taking her Doctor's advise. P.S. she continues to watch the Bachelor. Although this is something she still deals with, it’s not as bad as it used to be. In the midst of all of this, her relationship with God has strengthened as she has learned to depend on Him more.
In her own words she shares with us what it means to her to be an empowered Congolese woman:
Being an empowered Congolese woman means knowing who you are and where you come from. Remembering who you are especially when you make it big, knowing your brand (what are you about and how do you carry yourself?). Also being able to share your blessings with others. Being able to help others grow and bring them up. I would love to get to a place where I am successful but also able to empower other people. Growing up in the USA, I have never came across a movement that is by Congolese people and for Congolese people. So to me this is so exciting because we're trying to empower women and that’s what an empowered person does; they strive to empower others. I am a proud Congolese woman because I have a culture.
She also shares a young message to young Congolese women:
I want Congolese girls/women to embrace themselves and where they come from. I am a proud Congolese woman because I have a culture and a story that Americans do not have. We come here as the underdogs, we have a passion and a fire in us, so just embrace that.
WE SEE HER, WE RECOGNIZE HER, AND WE UPLIFT HER. PLEASE JOIN US IN DOING THE SAME BY SHARING HER STORY WITH THE WORLD. THIS IS HOW WE CHANGE THE NARRATIVE.