I believe everyone is capable of great things.. Everyone is powerful and can do anything they
set their minds out to do …but there is disparity in opportunities.
My name is Nadia Issa and I am a Butler student double majoring in economics and finance—and I'm a senior graduating in two weeks. My goal is to ultimately get a PhD., conduct research on economic development, and hopefully use that research to help underdeveloped countries thrive.
I grew up in Niger, the seventh poorest country in the world [as of 2021] …I was seven years old when I had the privilege to come [to the United States]. My grandfather made sacrifices to put my father through school to get his MBA at Indiana Tech.
I often stand back and reflect on where I was born, where I am at right now…and all that I have accomplished. I recognize it as proof that anything is possible. Breaking down barriers is possible. Some people simply do not know what exists outside of their society.
My nonprofit, Lumière, provides this outlet of teaching Nigerian women to be more independent and self reliant… Child marriages [in Niger/Nigerian communities] are quite common because they are viewed as a solid source of income. But what we want is to show that [these women] are capable…to provide [them with] tools of self development and career development to help start projects of [their] own. We prioritize identity, focus on uniqueness, assess strengths and weaknesses; to help [them] create their own identity. We want to empower them with equipment and information to help them know that they are worth it.
When people hear the name ‘Nadia Issa,’ I want it to be the symbol of hope—no matter your color, religion, or race. The goal in my pursuit [for a career] in economics is to replicate my family's [good] fortune to multiple people in the world. For now, my goal is to replicate it for at least one person… I feel a sense of duty because I know what it's like to live in both worlds and I know how impactful it can be.
My whole brand and image is built on what's possible when you believe in yourself and when you believe outside of what the norm is.
As [a human being], there's always that small voice of doubt [in my head]. When I reach that point, I envision a day in the life of thirty year old Nadia. I picture my nonprofit providing more resources to underprivileged areas…I envision my thirty year old self giving my seven year old self a safe space where people are allowed to dream bigger.