From DEO to CEO: Graduate Benita Mulungi talks Kepler community spirit

| Kepler

Benita Mulungi is driven. While studying full-time with Kepler-SNHU, Benita took on extra responsibilities as student guild president and technology learning assistant. But, she points out, she wasn’t alone. Now as a graduate, Benita reflects on Kepler’s supportive community spirit. 

 

“It was hard. I can’t say I did it all on my own,” attests Kepler-SNHU graduate Benita Mulungi. “I always had support, and that made me feel comfortable with having a lot on my plate.” 

Benita is driven, a hustler, and she always has been. In high school, she’d already started a savings group for children’s education in her community. As a full-time Kepler student earning a BA in Management from Southern New Hampshire University, she took on added responsibilities as student guild president and technology learning assistant. 

But, she points out, she wasn’t alone. “A good team really helps. In the student guild, for example, it wasn’t just my ideas put forward. We would sit together and ask ‘What should we do? How should we do it? And what will the impact be?’” 

Kepler’s environment is unique, explains Benita. “The community is so supportive, including the students. It’s a place where you succeed and your friends are genuinely happy for your success. That’s something I rarely see elsewhere.” Like many, Benita refers to Kepler as a “second home.”

“My friends helped me reach my goals. In fact, when you share your goals with them, they come back with new opportunities, and they remind you of your goals. They help me stick to them and push forward.” 

Support is built into Kepler’s education model. Academic advisors offer

guidance to keep scholars on track, and course facilitators and lecturers care about student success, helping learners daily. “Any opportunity you go for, a supervisor is there to help.” 

Of course, Benita also had to earn the support of her peers. “As a teacher, I had to be serious and earn the respect of my students. When I went out, I was the president and I had to be there for other students and hear their concerns. And during all of this, I was still a student who wanted to graduate, because I had personal goals too.” When running for re-election in the student guild, Benita was open with her peers. “I told them, ‘I’ve been leading you for a year now, so you can see what I’ve accomplished, and you are always welcome to give feedback.’ They backed me because they’d seen what I had done and believed in me. It was challenging, but it was manageable with advisors and friends, and you grow.” 

Benita was drawn to Kepler as an aspiring entrepreneur. As a 2020 graduate, she has carried the Kepler community spirit with her. “When it comes to management, I want to level up. A business may be profitable, but I want to impact the community, versus just gaining profit and consuming. Business should give back to the community.”

Currently, Benita works as a Data Entry Officer (DEO) for One Acre Fund in Kigali. She maintains stakeholder relationships and collects feedback at the field-level, ensuring One Acre Fund’s projects successfully serve farmers in Rwanda. And, she is as motivated as ever: “Every day, I say I’m starting at DEO, and one day I’ll be CEO!” 

“I want to change the world by employing my own staff and seeing their lives improve. I was blessed to have an education, particularly from Kepler-SNHU, which is an opportunity most lack. So, this made me feel like I can change other people’s lives using the knowledge that I have. I was blessed, so let me bless others.”