College of Education and Behavioral Sciences News
WKU Accounting JUMP Program student overcomes challenges to complete degree
- Alicia Carter
- Wednesday, April 26th, 2023
Divine Lokuku, a senior from Louisville, who graduates next week with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a certificate in Personal Financial Planning, is no stranger to working hard and overcoming obstacles. Her family moved to the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo when she was a teenager, which came with its own set of unique challenges.
We left the Congo for the U.S. on my fifteenth birthday,” Lokuku said of the move her parents and seven siblings made eight years ago. “My parents wanted better opportunities for us kids. They also wanted us to get a world-class education.”
After briefly living in Missouri and Illinois, her family settled in Kentucky where she completed high school. Her freshman year of college presented new challenges as she navigated paying for college and supporting herself.
“Being a first-generation college student, I struggled financially,” Lokuku said. “It was in the middle of my freshman year that I made the decision to join the National Guard to help pay for school.”
Lokuku is three years into a six-year contract with the Kentucky Army National Guard. She said one of the biggest things she learned from serving in the military is teamwork.
“Everything we do in the Army is through teams,” said Lokuku. “It also taught me the importance of acceptance and diversity. With people from all over the world in the Army, it’s easy to make friends with people from different cultures. It also taught me persistence and the importance of not giving up.”
Lokuku decided to come to WKU on a friend’s recommendation but stayed because of the tight-knit community she found on the Hill, including the Intercultural Student Engagement Center (ISEC) Academy and a caring group of professors.
“First, I chose WKU because my friend went here,” Lokuku said. “She then transferred after the first semester, leaving me. I wanted to transfer and follow her, but I made connections with my professors, and that was enough for me to stay.”
Lokuku made the decision to study accounting because of the supportive faculty members within the WKU Gordon Ford College of Business, her strong interest in the field and an excellent job outlook. As a WKU JUMP Program student, Lokuku will move straight into completing her master’s degree in accounting.
“After speaking with my first accounting professor, I decided to change my major to accounting because of its precision and rule-oriented standard,” Lokuku said.
Already seeing the benefits of choosing a field that is in high demand, last summer, Lokuku completed an internship at Ernst & Young in Louisville. She then landed an internship abroad with KPMG’s Global Internship Program as an accounting intern for the upcoming summer.
“I’ve spent time learning about the different career routes for accounting students. This helped me understand the tax system better and strengthened my love for tax. At my internship last summer, I learned about audit, consulting and tax. It was a great way to learn about all the services,” said Lokuku. “I am excited about this summer’s internship. I’ll start my internship in the U.S. and then spend July in Dubai at the firm’s office there.”
Growing up in another country, Lokuku said she is drawn to helping others gain a global perspective. She wanted to find a way to share the world with her fellow Hilltoppers. Serving as a WKU Global Learning Ambassador helped her do just that. As an ambassador, she participated in recruiting and marketing events for WKU Global Learning and Study Abroad.
“Working as a Global Learning Ambassador allowed me to learn marketing skills, like social media marketing. I also improved my public speaking skills by giving classroom presentations,” Lokuku said.
Lokuku even found a way to study abroad herself. She spent this past winter studying in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
“This was a life-changing experience as it allowed me to go back near my previous residency. In this program, I spent time analyzing the healthcare system of Tanzania and comparing it to that of the United States. I also spent time collaborating with the local community on issues affecting them, visiting cultural sites, and making friends along the way.”
While at WKU, Lokuku also served as secretary of the African Student Union. She gave presentations on issues affecting the continent of Africa, its populations and provided recommendations on resolutions. She also assisted the organization’s president with various tasks and offered advice, but her greatest impact was offering advice to new members, many of whom were not only adjusting to college life, but life in a new country.
After graduation, Lokuku will continue her work with the Kentucky Army National Guard and is set to graduate from WKU for a second time in December. This time with a master’s degree in accounting. She plans to pursue a career in international tax.
Fore more information about the JUMP Program in Accounting at WKU, visit https://www.wku.edu/accounting/professional-program-in-accountancy.php
#WKUGrad series: As part of our #WKUGrad series, articles on graduating students are shared in the weeks leading up to Commencement. See all of their stories at https://www.wku.edu/news/articles/index.php?view=default&categoryid=799&multinewsid=187