Navaraj (Raj) Lamichhane
Junior, Business Administration, WSU Vancouver
International Student from Nepal
Recipient of the Stanton E. and Lana Y. Schmid Multicultural Opportunity Scholarship, which carries out WSU’s land-grant mission of accessible higher education while recognizing the commitment of former Vice President for University Affairs, Stan Schmid.
Activities: Secretary, Associated Students of Washington State University Vancouver (ASWSUV) Senate; President, International Students’ Association at WSU Vancouver (promotes multicultural exchange of perspectives between International and American students); volunteer for campus clubs helping students with their educational needs.
What do you like best about WSU?
“I love WSU Vancouver. As an International student from Nepal, I had a difficult time understanding the different cultures and lectures. However, it did not take much time to catch up. I connected with many friends, faculty, and staff in a short time too. The professors are very helpful and supportive. I am doing pretty well in most of my classes. I love to walk on the trails and share stories about Nepal with my new friends. I enjoy spending time in the library working on my research papers. I love working for ASWSUV and learning from my friends. There are many opportunities on campus, such as work, tutoring, career fairs, and assistantships. All these opportunities help make students successful.”
How did you decide WSU was the right school for you?
“I feel proud to be a part of the Cougar family. When I applied to WSU Vancouver, I checked WSU’s ranking, class-size and graduate ratio, scholarships, on-campus jobs, extracurricular activities, campus resources, and campus life. I decided it was the right place to build my career in the business world. I have been at WSU Vancouver for more than a year, and I love WSU. I love campus, social life, campus resources, and my classes. Whenever I see successful Cougars making a difference in their lives and communities, I get inspired to work harder and smarter.”
What is the greatest learning experience you have had to date at WSU?
“One of my greatest learning experiences has been gaining practical skills. The classes are hands-on with field studies, presentations, and involvement. Thus, I understand my topics well and feel comfortable working on assignments. I also use campus resources, such as free tutoring at the writing center, and the library. I participate in group discussions. In addition, because WSU has students from different parts of the world. I love how they share their ideas during class discussions. I feel like WSU is a small world.”
How did this scholarship help you?
“I work part time on campus. However, the amount of money I earn is not enough to support all of my costs. Therefore, I am dependent on scholarships. The Stanton and Lana Schmid Multicultural Opportunity Scholarship will help me achieve my educational goals. Since I no longer have my parents, I try my best to earn money through scholarships. This is difficult because many scholarships at U.S. institutions are only for U.S. citizens. I want to thank WSU for opening up the application process to someone like me. I would like to thank the donors, because this scholarship enables me to spend more time on study. I will make the best use of this scholarship to educate myself and create a better future for my family, community, and nation.
“I am so happy and fortunate to receive this scholarship. I lost my mother when I was six years old, and my father abandoned my family. My three siblings were scattered among my relatives’ houses, but I was fortunate to go to a Swiss-aid project, Bright Horizon Children’s Home School (BHCHS), in Kathmandu, Nepal. Since then, I have worked hard to shape my career so I can eventually support my siblings, and help develop my community and the entire nation of Nepal. I paved my way to WSU Vancouver in December 2015, and I am confident that WSU Vancouver will provide me the necessary business skills, and experiences I need to reach my goals.”
What are your future plans after graduation?
“I have a dream to open a company based on renewable energy. In Nepal, I worked a couple of years as a paid research intern for Winrock International (Wi), a nonprofit organization that works in the U.S. and worldwide to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity, and sustain natural resources. During my tenure at Wi, I learned that urban Nepalese communities have no access to modern energy, such as Solar Home Systems (SHS), Improved Cooking Stoves (ICS), and hydroelectricity. I learned many women and children are dying from the smoke produced while cooking food. I learned that excessive carbon in the atmosphere is polluting the environment and hampering the health of my people. This touched my heart, and I felt there were many things I could do to help those disadvantaged people through clean energy. Therefore, I plan to earn an MBA in the energy field, work for an energy-based company such as Winrock International, USAID, or perhaps, start my own company.”
Additional information you want to share:
“My story is about hard work, luck, and miracles.
“When I was six years old, I lost my mother. My father abandoned our family. Because nobody knows when I was born, I had to pick my own birthday. I picked May 4th.
“Though my siblings scattered to my relatives for shelter, I was lucky to go school at Bright Horizon Children’s Home School (BHCHS) – a home for orphaned children in Kathmandu, Nepal. This was my first miracle. I studied hard at BHCHS for more than ten years and was accepted into a private high school in Kathmandu. To earn a living and pay for school tuition, I got a job tutoring mathematics.
“I always dreamed of going to school in America. I wanted to explore the world, do something important with my life, and find a way to help others.
“To save for my education, I started teaching math and music and worked as a research intern for a global nonprofit, commuting 4 hours a day to and from Kathmandu to the children’s home. It was a challenging time, but I hoped that someday, my life would change.
“Then, another miracle came into my life. With support from my generous sponsor at BHCHS, I started my undergraduate degree in Kathmandu. Then, two years later, another miracle: I met Dr. Questad, a kind, compassionate, and generous English teacher from Vancouver, Washington. Dr. Questad taught me how to write SAT essays and tackle critical reading. With her subsequent encouragement and support using long-distance technology, I practiced hard for the exams and set up a blog to help others.
“When the earthquakes hit Nepal last year, I feared for my life. But, I continued to study, took the TOEFL and SAT exams, applied to WSU Vancouver… and got accepted! I was the first transfer student from my business school in Kathmandu to go to an American university.
“In December 2015, with my U.S. student visa, funding from my sponsor for one semester, and free room and board at Dr. Questad’s house – a 10 minute walk to campus – I arrived in America. It was the happiest day of my life.
“Recently, I completed my second semester, earning a 3.6 GPA, while working the maximum allowed amount of hours on campus in student government and the school cafeteria.
“For many international students, it’s not an easy transition to college life in America. School is expensive. My visa doesn’t allow me to work off campus. I’ve earned scholarship money and have a job, but I still need to pay for the remainder of my tuition. This scholarship will help me finish my studies and graduate early.
“My biggest wish is to raise enough funds to complete both my BA and MBA and then eventually work for a clean energy company, perhaps eventually starting my own.
“I promise to make the best use of American generosity to educate myself and to create a better future for my family, my community, and my country. When I complete my education and gain experiences of working with some companies in the U.S., I pledge to return to Nepal to help my country emerge from poverty. Maybe someday, I can offer a miracle to another student who has a dream to change his life, too.”