Thomaia Pamplin

KIPP Alumna Thomaia Pamplin

I’ve always wanted to work for something, you know? Even when I was young, I would say, “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know I want to help people!”

I always had a desire to serve my community. Only recently did I start to channel that desire into a career. I am now pre-med. It was a tough decision. I mean, five years from now I’ll still be in school and not have much of a life outside of studying, but it’s one of the things I’m most excited about.

Growing up, my dad would always talk about how in our community, especially the black community, the people who made it out of Houston wouldn’t always come back. I want to work in the medical field, but even more, I can’t wait to be in a position to give back and be involved with my community as much as I can.

Maybe I can even help to create a larger sense of community that wasn’t there when I was younger.

After going to KIPP for middle school, I went to a boarding school in Massachusetts and spent most of my summers away from home. I missed Texas. I remember visiting KIPP Academy Middle School on one of my breaks, talking to my old teachers, meeting new students, just feeling that…specialness.

KIPP always made us feel so cared for.

KIPP has continued to play a big role in my life. Just this past summer, I interned for Senator Chris Murphy through the KIPP Federal Policy Fellowship Program, an initiative that connects KIPP alumni with internships on Capitol Hill and the White House and funds their stay in DC.

One morning, early in my internship, I was working in the mailroom. A legislative correspondent ran in and told us to turn on C-SPAN. “Our senator is out there! And he’s just…talking!”

That day—the day of his fifteen hour filibuster on gun control—was amazing. Interns were running to the doors of the Senate floor, delivering posters for the Senator to show. The phone was ringing off the hook.

Usually, I just took calls from constituents. That day, we were receiving calls from all over the country.

And that evening, when Senator Cory Booker spoke, I was there. I watched it happen from the Gallery. I learned so much from my time on the Hill. Not enough people realize that they can just pick up the phone and call their Senator. That they can speak to their representative, they can schedule a meeting.

Recording constituent’s messages, passing them off to aides and correspondents, I realized that our opinions do matter. They do filter through. It might not feel easy at times, but we are…we are all connected.

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