My name is Hema Neupane. I am a rising sophomore at Pennsylvania State University, majoring in Biology, Pre-medicine and Math. I was born and spent the first fourteen years of my life in a refugee camp in Nepal. I grew up in this community, playing in the dust and trying to learn what I could about the world beyond our society. Eventually a great opportunity for all Bhutanese refugees came; the United States and six other nations agreed to resettle Bhutanese Refugees in their countries. For my family and me, this journey led us to Arizona In 2009. I started ninth grade in Phoenix, accepting huge challenges like learning a new language, making friends, and adopting the culture to fit into American Society. Two years later, we decided to move to Pittsburgh for better job opportunities for my parents and for better quality education facilities for me. Finally searching for and following my dreams, I arrived in Pittsburgh, and now feel like I am breathing the fresh air of freedom and seeing my dreams right before me.
I am a 2013 graduate of Baldwin High School and a member of the National Honor Society. During high school, I worked as an English as a Second Language (ESL) & Naturalization Teacher for a group of elderly Bhutanese people. As soon as I graduated, I assisted a PhD candidate from Oxford University with her research on the economic self-sufficiency of Bhutanese refugees in Pittsburgh. I worked in a summer youth Philanthropy Internship Program as a 2013 summer intern at the Heinz Endowment and at the United Way of Allegheny County. I am also an alumna of Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania. I am currently coordinating the filming of videos within the Bhutanese community for the Children of Shangri-Lost project.
Having lived in the United States for the past five years, my hopes and dreams are still alive and now I have the opportunity for higher education, which I do not want to give up. This is who I am; a young girl striving and thriving for knowledge.