Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal
Before Sophiya Shrestha ’08 came to Mount Holyoke she volunteered for Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness, an NGO working to address environmental issues in her native Nepal. The experience convinced her that no matter what field of study she decided to pursue in college, there would be environmental applications. “I knew that studying environmental issues with a scientist’s eyes was not my piece of cake. I was, however, definitely interested in the integral role they play in the sustainable development of any country,” she said.
Sophiya chose Mount Holyoke because she was intrigued by its commitment to educate women from all over the world in a challenging but friendly environment. “Mount Holyoke’s effort to cultivate diverse cultures and expose the College community to the wider world definitely encourages international students to apply.”
Now an economics major, Sophiya spent the summer after her sophomore year in New Delhi, India, with the Centre for Science and the Environment (CSE) through funding from Mount Holyoke’s Center for the Environment. She pursued the internship because she saw it as an opportunity to gain research experience in sustainable development. “CSE is an independent, public interest organization dedicated to increasing public awareness. The most important thing I learned during my summer is that wherever environmental degradation exists, it is the poor who suffer the most unfortunate consequences.”
Her research on the mining industry in India has inspired Sophiya to do an independent study on the effects of the privatization of the mining industry on local economies and the status of local peoples, especially tribal communities.
As for the overall Mount Holyoke experience, Sophiya finds it inspiring to be among women working so hard to achieve their goals. “They encourage me to work harder,” she said. “Mount Holyoke offers challenges that [help] you to achieve your goals.”