“It’s really important to me to work on behalf of other people,” said Gibson, a UMKC law student whose work already has affected lives around the world.
Gibson was born in Liberia and came to America at age 7 when her family won a visa lottery to escape civil war. Even at such a young age, Gibson would tell her family she wanted to be a lawyer. They never let her forget it, and everything she’s done since then has solidified that dream.
Gibson earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in political science from the University of Missouri and her master’s in education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She served as a Teach for America educator in Kansas City for four years.
She put her dedication to helping the underserved to work during her undergraduate studies in a variety of ways. Among them: working with the Innocence Project, supporting law students.
“That was a door-opener for me,” Gibson said. “I knew I didn’t want to do criminal law, but just the thought that people are wrongly convicted and spending years behind bars would motivate anybody to do anything.”
She also co-founded the Mizzou Black Women’s Initiative, a group dedicated to mentorships, community outreach and service that is active on campus.
One role that shaped who she is today, Gibson said, is her work as co-founder of Children LifeTime Educational Foundation. Along with her mother Joanna, Gibson established the organization in 2008 to give the gift of reading to children in her home country. CLTEF helped build a school library that services 900 students. Though Joanna died in 2015, Gibson, her siblings and her husband, Leo Gibson, are continuing that work, with the goal of building a community center in the region. Gibson says none of the work the organization does would be possible without support from the Kansas City community, which donates books, time and money to the cause.
Gibson also served as editor-in-chief of UMKC’s prestigious publication The Urban Lawyer.
“I was really proud to be selected for that position,” said Gibson. “That was a great time in my life because I’d never done anything like that before — leading a group of really accomplished, brilliant individuals who know exactly what they’re doing and how to make a journal work. That was a growth moment for me. I really enjoyed my time doing it.”
Immediately after law school, Gibson will be working with Shook, Hardy & Bacon, where she said she looks forward to learning from the “best of the best.”
“I’m focused on learning all that I can learn so I can be a great lawyer one day,” she said. “I know that takes a long time, and I am totally on for that journey.”