Kathleen Lüppker…YOU INSPIRE ME! Kathleen lives big, thinks big, and loves big. She lives life to the fullest, tackling one great adventure after another. And just a few months ago, her big love for the US moved her to become a US Citizen. I’m proud to have even played a small part in her journey. Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to Coach her in a professional development program for international educators. Like many others, I was immediately taken in by her magnetic personality and infectious spirit. She represents the next generation of the American Dream, a young independent woman carving her own path and living her passion.
Living and working in a foreign country is challenging and not one so easily overcome. Ten years ago, she came to the US after completing high school in Germany. Aside from the expected challenges of learning the language and adjusting to the culture, Kathleen also had to deal with being robbed by people she was supposed to be able to trust and being put out with nothing but the clothes on her back.
Left with nothing, she was taken in by a family she now calls her “American Family” who helped her get back on her feet and supported her making her dreams come true. Determined to conquer the setbacks, Kathleen was more motivated than ever to work hard and make a difference for herself and others. She worked 3 jobs while in university, and one of them was working in the International Office at a local community college. She loved working there, helping other international students so she pursued a degree in Global Studies. Today, Kathleen is an International Education professional who has a passion for her work and the students she advises. She said, “My favorite part is that not only do we help students, we help make dreams come true. We never know who walks through that door and what their story is. But every time I remember when I wanted nothing more than [to] come to school in the US.” And I know that her colleagues and students benefit from her generous spirit, joy for life, and commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.
Kathleen is ambitious and driven while maintaining great humility and compassion. She stands tall in the face of adversity, loves fully, and aims high. Becoming a US Citizen, she said, was a natural next step and only made sense after being a valued member of her community for so many years. And those of us who know and love her are so grateful to know she is now permanently connected to us.
Kathleen was invited to speak at her swearing-in ceremony, overcoming her own fears of public speaking to again use her experience to empower and encourage others. When I asked Kathleen if she had any insight or advice to inspire her generation, this what she said:
My advise is that anything is possible, but only is you believe in it very hard and are willing to work at it even harder. When it comes to your professional goals, remember that you will be doing it for a very long time of your life. It is a privilege to be doing something you love. A career [need] not just be paying for your bills but it should positively enhance your life. And that is true in any area of your life. Be loyal to yourself and what you really want out of life. And if you are not yet sure about what that is, take some time to explore some options, but be responsible while doing so and don’t be afraid to work hard in the meantime.
Before I started college, I did not really know what I wanted to become, but I knew where to start on figuring it out. I wanted to do something that I love doing everyday, so I had to work 3 jobs to pay for college to get to that goal.
Annique Nestmann says
Thank you for writing this, you’re right, Kathleen is such a pleasure to work with!
Paul Patterson says
Capable, competent, professional and lovely on the inside and outside, Kathleen incarnates the best of both Germany and the U.S! The more “hidden” treasure she brings everyday is a tender vulnerability and playfulness that invites others to come forth. Kathleen is an icon of what community college and international education should be. Thank you for this article!