Kimaka Nichols-Graham ‘94

Name: Kimaka Nichols-Graham ‘94
Residence: Greenville, South Carolina
Degree: Bachelor of Arts, Political Science 
Occupation: Attorney

Kimaka Nichols-Graham '94 found her voice at Winthrop.

Her upbringing in a small, rural community allowed her to become conscious of the challenges that were happening around her.

“My household was small and stable but I observed things in my community that led me to want to make a difference,” said Nichols-Graham, who studied political science at Winthrop and is now an attorney in Greenville.

She entered Winthrop as an eager freshman; ready to learn and ready to ask questions (and find the answers).

“I took the introduction to political science course my first semester and I immediately enjoyed having a voice, even as a freshman in a class full of upperclassmen.  It was refreshing because culturally the South was male dominated and I had my own opinions,” she said.

Opinionated and driven, Nichols-Graham paved her own pathway in the political science department. She became a work-study student, engaged effortlessly with faculty and legal professionals, and during her junior year, she scored a spot in the American Political Science Association (APSA) Ralph Bunche Summer Institute in Atlanta, Georgia.

Nichols-Graham described her experience at Winthrop in the 1990s as a “game changer” and where she learned that “if you do not believe in yourself, then no one else will.” She went on to pursue political and law degrees from the University of South Carolina and Rutgers University. After 20 years as a legal services attorney, Nichols-Graham has her sights set on becoming a family court judge.

She wants to bring awareness to marginalized communities, children's rights and the impact of generational trauma. More importantly, she wants to use her voice and power for good.

“I remember vowing to myself at Winthrop that when I got into a position of power that I would never mistreat or oppress anyone or group. So much of civilization and history has simply been about power and control. If you are simply waiting on your turn to mistreat someone else to elevate yourself, then you have surely missed the point,” she added.   

Nichols-Graham also manages the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) at South Carolina Legal Services and provides continuing legal education training and community seminars in Greenville, Anderson, Pickens and Oconee counties.



Vilissa Thompson '08, '12, doesn't let anything hold her back

Jessica Berry '08 is an advocate for keeping Gullah/Geeche history alive and relevant