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Kalpana Bhattarai

6895

Bold Points

103x

Nominee

2x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

I'm Kalpana Bhattarai, a public health advocate with a bachelor's degree from the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh (2015). Since then, my journey has been dedicated to addressing crucial health challenges, particularly within underserved communities. My commitment to community well-being, driven by a profound interest in public health, has been honed through diverse experiences in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and volunteer/fellowship programs. These experiences have equipped me with valuable skills in designing, planning, and implementing effective public health programs. Currently, I am a graduate student at the University of New Haven, where my studies encompass the ethical framework in public health, data analysis, and intervention design. Looking ahead, I aspire to serve as an advocate and public health epidemiologist, contributing to a positive impact on public health globally. Outside academia, you'll find me immersed in nature, practicing meditation, and engaging in yoga. These activities serve as an inspiration and balance my life. I firmly believe in giving back to the community in every way I can, reinforcing my dedication to making a meaningful difference in the field of public health. Thank you for taking the time to learn about my journey.

Education

University of New Haven

Master's degree program
2023 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Public Health

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Public Health
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Health, Wellness, and Fitness

    • Dream career goals:

      Public Health Expert & Researcher

    • Project Designer and Coordinator of Summer Research Project on Athletics, Mentoring

      Asian University for Women
      2011 – 2011
    • Volunteer Fellow

      Teach for Nepal
      2016 – 20182 years
    • Research Officer

      Transcultural Psychosocial organization (TPO) Nepal
      2021 – Present3 years

    Sports

    Basketball

    Intramural
    2010 – 20111 year

    Awards

    • Yes

    Badminton

    Club
    2014 – 20151 year

    Awards

    • No

    Dancing

    Varsity
    2011 – Present13 years

    Awards

    • No

    Research

    • Mental and Social Health Services and Allied Professions

      Transcultural Psychosocial organization (TPO) Nepal — Jr.Research Officer
      2021 – Present

    Arts

    • Teach for Nepal

      Theatre
      no
      2016 – 2018

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Teach for Nepal — Teach for Nepal Fellow
      2016 – 2018

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Entrepreneurship

    STEAM Generator Scholarship
    Two unfortunate events during my upbringing became defining moments: first, my uncle got into a serious accident while crossing the road. After 15 days of hospitalization, my father brought my uncle to our home in Nepal. My uncle continued his treatment in Kathmandu, but full recovery was not possible, and treatment was costly. Then, a few years later when I was in high school, my mom was admitted to a public hospital where it took more than 38 hours for a doctor to arrive at the emergency department. Fortunately, my mother's operation was successful, and she slowly recovered. However, if we had been able to afford a private hospital, this type of delay would likely not have happened. Experiencing how the systems-level disparities in healthcare infrastructure affect access of the general public to healthcare instilled in me a strong desire to study public health. Having pursued this dream for nearly seven years, I arrived in the United States, specifically Connecticut State, in August 2023 as an immigrant and a student with an F1 visa. Everything was completely new to me, and it was a bit challenging because I received my visa at the last hour. As a result, I didn't have accommodation for the first week and had to temporarily stay with a friend. Additionally, I only had $100 in cash until I deposited a check at the bank, and even understanding the cheque deposit process took a day or two. On top of that, there was no gap between my arrival and the start of classes, which posed another challenge. In my family, I am the only one who has traveled to a foreign land for further education. Both of my elder sisters got married at the age of 17, and my parents didn't even complete grade 10. It wasn't easy for me to prioritize education in a traditional Nepalese society where girls are expected to get married and prioritize their in-laws' happiness over their education as daughters-in-law. Coming to the United States and pursuing further studies was never part of my dreams, although I always had a strong desire and passion for education. The reason I didn't consider the U.S was because I was afraid of the high cost that I couldn't afford. Fortunately, I had some savings from my previous work and received partial support from my family, which allowed me to complete my first year of education. When I reflect and be true to myself, I often feel like being here in the U.S. and pursuing a master's degree in public health is a dream come true. It feels like it has opened the door to dreaming again after a seven-year academic gap. After my undergraduate study, I started working as an intern, volunteer fellow, and research officer to save up for myself. These experiences have also helped me gain expertise in various fields. I have high hopes and belief that the current master's degree program in public health (MPH) that I am pursuing will enhance my practical knowledge through an innovative learning approach. It will provide ample opportunities to focus on research in quality improvement and improving access to healthcare in under-resourced rural communities, such as my own in Nepal. Moreover, I find myself aligned with the values emphasized in the field of public health, which I find particularly empowering. These values include health promotion, diversity, social justice, and engagement. In essence, my dream is to become a public health researcher and contribute to making healthcare more affordable and accessible to people, regardless of their location, religion, or caste.
    Adam Montes Pride Scholarship
    Born in rural Western Nepal, I am the third child of my parents. Because I could not study science in high school, I was not allowed to enroll in a university to study science in Nepal. Furthermore, as soon as I completed high school, my relatives suggested that my mom arrange for my marriage (common in Nepal, given that the median age of marriage for girls is only 17.5). Two of my sisters were already married, and I was next. I was trying hard to escape that reality. Meanwhile, two unfortunate events during my upbringing became defining moments: first, my uncle got into a serious traffic accident. Despite a long hospitalization in India and Nepal, full recovery was not possible, and treatment was costly. Then, my mom was admitted to a public hospital where it took more than 38 hours for a doctor to evaluate her. Fortunately, her operation was successful, and she slowly recovered. Experiencing how the systems-level disparities in healthcare infrastructure adversely affect low-income families like mine instilled in me a strong desire to study public health. Gaining admission to the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh, for my Bachelor of Science in Biological Science with a minor in Public Health was the first step toward achieving my dream. Following my undergraduate degree, I was planning on pursuing research on Alzheimer’s disease, which I had begun earlier, but life took a turn when a massive earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015. Thus, I returned to serve as a Teach for Nepal Fellow in the remote and rural Sindhupalchok district. For two years, I worked as a volunteer fellow, and a science teacher, in the hardest earthquake-affected zone. With my continued commitment to public health, I then worked at two different organizations: Lifecare Diagnostics and Research Center, and Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO). At Lifecare Diagnostics and Research Center, I carried out studies and published research papers on COVID-19. I conducted hundreds of phone interviews to understand the impact of the pandemic on rural communities. Patients shared their financial ruin from extended hospitalizations, dehumanizing treatment from overworked staff, and severe gaps in experiences with hospital administration. Now, I am eager to expand my scope to enhance healthcare capacity on a larger scale and broadly build community resilience. Moreover, in TPO, I worked as a Jr. research officer and research officer and led project INDIGO, an International study of discrimination and stigma outcome, a multi-country study to develop stigma reduction interventions at the community, primary healthcare, and mental health specialist levels. A key part of my work is to translate and adapt research tools to fit the linguistic and cultural needs of communities in Nepal. While this role helped me develop my ability to navigate different cultural contexts in mental health, my desire to study the epidemiological aspects of mental health continues to grow. Currently, I am pursuing a master's degree in public health (MPH) at the University of New Haven. I completed my first year and starting from August 2024 will be my second year. As I navigate through my first semester successfully, my primary concern is the financial burden of covering the steep tuition fees. As someone from a modest economic background, this sum is challenging. The scholarship I am seeking would not only help alleviate the financial burden but also serve as a beacon of hope, illustrating how education can bring about transformation in the face of adversity. In the long run, I envision harnessing the best aspects of Western healthcare, encompassing both public health knowledge and practices, to instigate positive transformations in healthcare systems worldwide.
    WCEJ Thornton Foundation Low-Income Scholarship
    Gaining admission to the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh, for my Bachelor of Science in Biological Science with a minor in Public Health was the first step toward achieving my dream. Following my undergraduate degree, I was planning on pursuing research on Alzheimer’s disease, which I had begun earlier, but life took a turn when a massive earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015. Thus, I returned to serve as a Teach for Nepal Fellow in the remote and rural Sindhupalchok district. For two years, I worked as a volunteer fellow, and a science teacher, in the hardest earthquake-affected zone where I saw the real remote public health challenges. For example, a striking incident occurred when a pregnant woman was transferred by basket to Melamchi and finally to Kathmandu by helpers on foot–sadly, her unborn baby did not survive the trek. As an observer, I felt helpless and wished that I had the technical skills and experience to help this woman in her most painful and vulnerable moments. This particular incident propelled me to continue my work as a public health researcher, which I have continued through several jobs since then. With my continued commitment to public health, I then worked at two different organizations: Lifecare Diagnostics and Research Center, and Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO). At Lifecare Diagnostics and Research Center, I carried out studies and published research papers on COVID-19. I conducted hundreds of phone interviews to understand the impact of the pandemic on rural communities. Patients shared their financial ruin from extended hospitalizations, dehumanizing treatment from overworked staff, and severe gaps in experiences with hospital administration. Now, I am eager to expand my scope to enhance healthcare capacity on a larger scale and broadly build community resilience. Moreover, in TPO, I worked as a Jr. research officer and research officer and led project INDIGO, an International study of discrimination and stigma outcome, a multi-country study to develop stigma reduction interventions at the community, primary healthcare, and mental health specialist levels. A key part of my work is to translate and adapt research tools to fit the linguistic and cultural needs of communities in Nepal. While this role helped me develop my ability to navigate different cultural contexts in mental health, my desire to study the epidemiological aspects of mental health continues to grow. At present, I am a graduate student enrolled in the master's degree program in public health at the University of New Haven (UNH). It has been a journey of seven years since I completed my undergraduate studies and entered university. Within these seven years, I have worked as an educator, advocate, and public health researcher. Looking ahead, my ultimate goal is to fulfill my dream of becoming a public health researcher and contribute to making healthcare more affordable and accessible. I aspire to address the significant disparities in healthcare access caused by factors such as geography, religion, and caste, both within the United States, and Nepal, and on a global scale. By doing so, I aim to ensure that everyone, regardless of their background, can receive the healthcare they deserve.
    Courage/Yongqi Scholarship
    Born in rural Western Nepal, I am the third child of my parents. Because I could not study science in high school, I was not allowed to enroll in a university to study science in Nepal. Furthermore, as soon as I completed high school, my relatives suggested that my mom arrange for my marriage (common in Nepal, given that the median age of marriage for girls is only 17.5). Two of my sisters were already married, and I was next. I was trying hard to escape that reality. Meanwhile, two unfortunate events during my upbringing became defining moments: first, my uncle got into a serious traffic accident. Despite a long hospitalization in India and Nepal, full recovery was not possible, and treatment was costly. Then, my mom was admitted to a public hospital where it took more than 38 hours for a doctor to evaluate her. Fortunately, her operation was successful, and she slowly recovered. Experiencing how the systems-level disparities in healthcare infrastructure adversely affect low-income families like mine instilled in me a strong desire to study public health. This challenging time intensified my commitment to advocate for fair health opportunities. The difficulties my family faced, coupled with my efforts to empower young girls and address gender inequalities, ignited a strong drive for comprehensive healthcare policies. These experiences are central to why I am dedicated to making healthcare accessible to everyone, surpassing societal norms, and dismantling systemic barriers. Attending the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh was my first step towards achieving my dream. After completing my Bachelor's degree, I had planned to pursue higher education in the United States. However, my plans changed when a devastating earthquake struck Nepal in 2015. I decided to return and serve as a Teach for Nepal Fellow in a remote district heavily impacted by the earthquake. For two years, I worked as a volunteer fellow and science teacher, witnessing firsthand the public health challenges faced by rural communities. For example, a striking incident occurred when a pregnant woman was transferred by basket to Melamchi and finally to Kathmandu by helpers on foot–sadly, her unborn baby did not survive the trek. Embarking on a journey to TFN, I actively engaged with communities to promote STEM education, recognizing the critical intersection between education and healthcare outcomes. The TFN journey has helped me to be courageous, and committed, and increased my collaborating skills, including working in deep partnership with other Teach for Nepal Fellows. Given the disparities faced by my family and many others in rural Nepal, there exists a significant burden on mental health. To gain insight into this issue, I served as a research officer at Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal, focusing on Project INDIGO. This project, implemented across multiple countries including Nepal, Ethiopia, Tunisia, China, and India, aimed to develop and evaluate stigma reduction interventions at various levels of community, primary healthcare, and mental health specialist services. During my tenure, I played a crucial role in planning and designing training modules, crafting monthly and quarterly progress reports post-implementation, contextualizing manuals and resource materials, and adapting research tools to meet the linguistic and cultural needs of Nepali communities. I employed rigorous transcultural translation and adaptation mixed methods approaches throughout these tasks. Through this experience, I honed my technical skills, time management abilities, and work ethic. Overall, my role as a research officer significantly enhanced my capacity to navigate diverse cultural contexts within the realm of mental health. Currently, I am a master's degree student at the University of New Haven (UNH) majoring in public health. Thus, drawing upon my background as a researcher, educator, and advocate, I am driven to advance public health and well-being. Specifically, I aim to focus on women's health, the health of rural communities, and addressing disparities in access to healthcare. I ultimately aim to design effective interventions that have a measurable impact on the health sector in the U.S., Nepal, and globally. Despite my keen interest, dedication, and aspiration for higher education, sometimes the substantial financial sum poses a major hurdle, especially when I have diligently saved limited previous earnings to pursue the dream of furthering education in an international setting while contending with a modest economic background. Now, as I enter my second year, I continue to face increasing challenges. The little savings I had are nearly depleted, presenting a significant financial obstacle for me at this point. These financial challenges are immense, primarily due to the expenses of tuition, living costs, and student insurance. However, as the saying goes, where there is a problem, there is also a solution. I have not lost hope, and I refuse to give up easily. I have been exploring every possible avenue to secure the support I need. Asking for help can be a daunting task, as not everyone dares to reach out when they are in need. For me, requesting assistance is an act of boldness and bravery, as it requires stepping forward and voicing my needs. It involves acknowledging the current challenges I am facing and expressing my vulnerability to others. Receiving help, on the other hand, is an opportunity to establish trust with the person offering assistance. By being open to receiving help, I am demonstrating my willingness to stand out from the crowd and make myself visible. It is crucial to remain genuine and honest throughout this process, as not everyone who asks for help receives it. It is important to convey to others that I genuinely require assistance and make them feel the depth of my situation. From my own experience, I reiterate that asking for help and receiving it is a transformative experience. It requires boldness and courage to ask for help, and it is equally important to build trust and ensure authenticity when receiving assistance.
    Robert Lawyer Memorial Scholarship
    Growing up in Nepal, I experienced firsthand the weight of cultural expectations, particularly as a woman. Despite being born into a middle-class Brahmin family, a privilege in many respects, I encountered unique challenges due to my gender. As the elder sister, I was expected to assume responsibilities traditionally assigned to women, such as caregiving for my younger brother and preparing for marriage at a young age. These expectations often conflicted with my ambitions and desire for educational and professional fulfillment. Furthermore, my journey has been marked by health challenges that have deeply influenced my commitment to public health. Two significant events shaped my perspective on healthcare disparities in Nepal. Firstly, a traffic accident involving my uncle highlighted the harsh reality of inadequate healthcare infrastructure and the financial burden it places on families. Despite the severity of his injuries, the cost of treatment was unaffordable, underscoring the disparities in access to quality healthcare. Secondly, my mother's medical emergency, which required immediate surgery lasting over 38 hours, shed light on the challenges faced by individuals in rural communities who lack timely access to medical care. Witnessing these events fueled my determination to pursue higher education in public health and advocate for improved healthcare access and equity. As a non-traditional graduate student, I have encountered numerous challenges while navigating my educational journey. Balancing academic responsibilities with familial expectations and financial constraints has been a constant struggle. However, these challenges have only strengthened my resolve to pursue my passion for public health and make a meaningful impact in my community. My decision to pursue a master's degree in public health at the University of New Haven stems from my desire to address the systemic inequalities that perpetuate health disparities, particularly in rural communities. Through my academic and professional endeavors, I aim to bridge the gap between policy and practice, advocating for evidence-based interventions that promote health equity and empower marginalized populations. In applying for the Robert Lawyer Memorial Scholarship, I see an opportunity to not only further my education but also to honor the legacy of Bob Lawyer by embodying his commitment to community service and social impact. My experiences as a non-traditional graduate student have equipped me with the resilience, determination, and passion needed to effect positive change in our communities. Through this scholarship, I hope to continue my journey of empowerment and make a lasting impact in the field of public health.
    Lost Dreams Awaken Scholarship
    To me, recovery means more than just healing and re-energizing. It's about regaining strength, restoring balance, and rebuilding resilience. It's rediscovering purpose and reconnecting with myself and others. During my undergraduate fourth year, I was struck down by dengue fever, and my platelet count plummeted. For seven consecutive days, I was confined to a bed in the health center, unable to stand still. Those days felt endless, devoid of hope that I could ever return to my classes, let alone smile or laugh out loud, or even run. However, slowly but surely, I began to recover. Each day brought a glimmer of improvement, a step towards reclaiming my health and vitality. It was a journey of physical, emotional, and mental renewal, as I fought to regain my strength and find my balance once more. But it wasn't just about overcoming the physical symptoms; it was also about rebuilding my resilience and finding a deeper sense of purpose in the face of adversity. Through this experience, I learned to appreciate the importance of my health and well-being and the value of the connections I shared with others. Recovery, to me, was a holistic journey that encompassed every aspect – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. It was about more than just getting back on my feet; it was about achieving a profound sense of wholeness and well-being that I carry with me to this day.
    Mary D. Scholarship
    Two events during my upbringing became defining moments: first, my uncle got into a serious traffic accident in Delhi, India. Despite receiving treatment in Delhi and Kathmandu, full recovery was not possible, and treatment was very costly. Then, a few years later, my mom was admitted to a public hospital where it took more than 38 hours for a doctor to arrive at the emergency department. If we had been able to afford a private hospital, this delay would not have happened. Experiencing how systems-level disparities in healthcare infrastructure affect access to healthcare instilled in me a strong desire to study public health. These firsthand experiences fueled my passion to address healthcare disparities. Achieving admission to the Asian University for Women for my undergraduate study in 2010 marked a significant step toward my goal. Studying biology and public health, I connected my physiology courses to my uncle's situation, realizing the impact of limited nutrition on rehabilitation. This revelation strengthened my resolve to pursue a Master's Degree in public health. However, life took a twist in my final year in university. A massive earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, 2015. Thus, after graduation, I returned to Nepal to serve as a Teach for Nepal Fellow in the rural Sindhupalchowk district where the earthquake had claimed over 9000 lives. I became part of the community's rehabilitation process and encouraged girls, who came from disadvantaged backgrounds like me, to study STEM. I noticed that the lack of healthcare infrastructure was perpetuated by a cycle in rural communities, where future generations did not have enough resources to pursue higher education and find employment in advanced technical jobs. During my fellowship, my goal was to help break this cycle, so I supported students in their applications for various educational opportunities, which culminated in bringing my students to a STEM leadership conference via a day-long trek to Kathmandu. With such disparities that my family and many others face in rural Nepal, there is accordingly a heavy mental health burden. To study this, I worked at a diagnostic center where I conducted and published studies to understand the impact of COVID-19 on rural communities. Patients shared stories of financial ruin, dehumanizing treatment, and inequalities in-hospital experiences. While at Transcultural Psychosocial Organization Nepal, I contributed to the International Study of Discrimination and Stigma Outcomes (INDIGO) project. This multi-country study aims to develop stigma reduction interventions for mental health. My role involved adapting research tools to fit cultural and linguistic needs, enhancing my ability to navigate diverse contexts. Despite no longer working as a researcher, my passion for exploring the public health and epidemiological aspects of mental health continues to grow. I completed my first semester in the University of New Haven's Master of Public Health program, where I engaged with courses that highlighted the impact of socioeconomic and cultural differences on mental health. This focus aligns with my work experience, where I actively addressed these factors. Despite a successful first semester, covering the high tuition fees for the second year remains a significant financial challenge, even with active efforts to secure on-campus job opportunities. The total tuition cost for the two-year program is $44,310, excluding yearly inflation, posing a major hurdle for someone with limited savings pursuing education in an international setting. The Mary D. Scholarship, exclusively for women, would greatly support me in completing my two years of master's study, addressing structural factors like socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and gender-based inequality.
    Harriett Russell Carr Memorial Scholarship
    I was born and raised in a Brahmin family in a remote village of Kapilvastu district in western Nepal. Despite being from the Brahmin caste, the social restrictions imposed on girls were unbearable. For instance, during menstruation, I could not show my face in the sun or to any males. I lived in fear of being married off at an early age. Meanwhile, two events during my upbringing became defining moments: first, my uncle got into a traffic accident, and treatment was too costly. Then, my mom was admitted to a public hospital where it took more than 38 hours for a doctor to arrive. Fortunately, her operation was successful, and she slowly recovered. Experiencing how systems-level disparities in healthcare infrastructure adversely affect families like mine instilled in me a strong desire to study public health. My relentless efforts in seeking out higher education resulted in my acceptance to the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh, as one of 14 out of 2000 applicants from Nepal. On a full scholarship, I majored in Biology and minored in public health. This marked a milestone in pursuing my goal as a public health specialist. As I was approaching my university graduation, a massive earthquake struck Nepal–thus, I decided to go back to Nepal and help rebuild the communities by joining the Teach for Nepal Fellowship, a movement to end educational inequity. I worked in Sindupalchowk, one of the hardest-hit districts, teaching science to over 150 students from grades 6 to 10. In addition, I made it my priority to promote opportunities for my female students interested in STEM. I advocated for time off and personally accompanied my students to a girls’ leadership program in Kathmandu, a nine-hour trip away. Teaching augmented my aspiration to become someone who motivates others, especially women and other marginalized groups. Additionally, I worked as a researcher at the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization Nepal. Beyond the technical research, I closely worked with female community health workers who are often undervalued for their work on mental health awareness in providing them training on identifying mental health illnesses. One participant shared with me, “As we go back to our community, we will also raise awareness about the stigma of mental health issues.” It is through empowering women as healers and as advocates that I hope to bring about my impact. Currently, I am pursuing a graduate degree in public health at the university of New Haven, West Haven, Connecticut. In the long run, I plan to return to Nepal and leverage the best healthcare strategies and practices to improve the inclusivity and affordability of healthcare. In order to do so, I envision using the skills I gain in designing evidence-based interventions from the US in combination with my own background and knowledge of the health needs of Nepalese people.
    Mental Health Importance Scholarship
    I was born in rural Western Nepal as the third child in my family. My inability to study science in high school prevented me from enrolling in a university to pursue a science degree in Nepal. To complicate matters, after high school, relatives pressured my mother to arrange my marriage for the financial incentive of a dowry, common in Nepal, where girls marry as young as 17.5. Desperate to avoid this, I worked tirelessly to achieve my dream of higher education. Fortunately, I earned a prestigious scholarship to the Asian University for Women, marking the first step toward my dreams. After my undergraduate studies, I intended to pursue a Master's degree abroad. However, life took a turn when a massive earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015. I returned to serve as a Teach for Nepal Fellow in the remote Sindhupalchok district, both as an escape from early marriages and a commitment to help my earthquake-affected homeland. This fellowship brought me closer to the needs of my students, extending beyond academics to emotional healing through techniques like EFT. Post fellowship, expectations grew, with the community expecting more from me as a foreign graduate. I eventually married a man I liked. In Nepali culture, marriage meant increased responsibilities, fewer choices, and lower in-law expectations. My mental health suffered as I juggled these roles, and I realized the importance of emotional well-being. Though I aspired to higher education, my family didn't fully grasp my desires. My husband faced financial challenges, and I longed for words of encouragement and support, I was with low self-esteem, low confidence, and loss of interest I used to have before. Deprived of education, my emotional well-being deteriorated. Despite the worst, I was determined not to let my educational dream fade, so I began working and saving diligently. I am grateful for my workplace, Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal, where I joined as a junior research officer and was later promoted to research officer. This role allowed me to expand my knowledge and practice in mental health issues, bringing me full circle to the community healing practices I had always sought. During my time there, I also engaged in translating and adapting research metrics to fit the linguistic and cultural needs of Nepalese communities. These skills were instrumental in understanding my own struggles and managing my mental well-being. I started to see the positive aspects of life and gradually began to set aside "me time" to reflect on what had happened, focusing on the positive aspects. When deeply stressed, I chose to remain quiet rather than directing my anger toward someone else. Currently, as a Master's student at the University of New Haven, I not only focus on academics but also engage in meditation and yoga. Additionally, I have created a gratitude box where I write notes every day, expressing thanks to those who have helped me in some way, and keep these notes as a reminder of the positive influences in my life. With the new education journey after a seven-year-long educational gap, I feel that having sound mental health also means you become productive, feel courageous, have positive self-esteem, and emotional balance, focus, take a risk, and enjoy life. Lastly, I hope that nobody has to go with the worst mental health condition in their personal as well as work life, and even if symptoms appear, both, seeking support as well as understanding what people have gone through is vital.
    Morgan Levine Dolan Community Service Scholarship
    Being born in a middle-class Brahmin family is a privilege but not for a woman. I was studying in a public school until I was transferred to a private one that my younger brother was attending because he wouldn’t stop crying and needed to be taken care of. In school, not only did teachers not hold boys accountable for how disrespectful they were to girls but teachers themselves yelled at our mistakes and choked whatever little voice was left in us. The ritual during my first menstrual cycle kept me isolated for 15 days in a room with no sunlight - marking the beginning of more restrictions as “ the pride” of a family who could bring shame to the entire family if she breaks any social, gender, or sexuality norm. Sending girls to college was an unworthy investment and a risk to “the pride”. Growing up with this bitter reality, I did not want other girls to experience what I had gone through. Thus, I turned to activities that prioritized empowering young girls. During my undergraduate first year at the Asian University for Women, I co-led the Basketball Summer Project, where I helped design, prepare, and execute a 38-day camp and tournament for forty adolescent girls. It was also the first female-led basketball camp in Nepal. Besides coaching basketball, we tutored the students in their everyday academics. Impressively, my students participated to the fullest in the tournament and passed their terminal exams with flying colors. Life took a major twist when I was in my final year of university. A massive earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, 2015. Thus, after graduation, I returned to Nepal to serve as a Teach for Nepal volunteer teacher/Fellow in the rural Sindhupalchowk district where the earthquake had claimed over 9000 lives. During my fellowship journey at Teach for Nepal, I noticed that the lack of healthcare infrastructure was perpetuated by a cycle in rural communities, where future generations did not have enough resources to pursue higher education and find employment in advanced technical jobs. During my fellowship, my goal was to help break this cycle, so I supported students in their applications for various educational opportunities, which culminated in bringing my students to a STEM leadership conference via a day-long trek to Kathmandu. With such disparities that my family and many others face in rural Nepal, there is accordingly a heavy public health burden. To study this and to fulfill my continued commitment to scientific and public health research, I then worked at several research organizations where the culmination of my dedication to learning the scientific method and conducting my independent research has since led to multiple peer-reviewed publications. At present, I am pursuing a master of public health at the University of New Haven in West Haven, Connecticut in the United States with the hope to advance my academic journey further. Coming from a low-income country and a middle-class family in Nepal, the major challenge is surmounting financial barriers and reducing stress associated with managing room rent and academic semester bills. The Morgan Levine Dolan Community Service Scholarship will significantly contribute to covering my tuition fees, providing valuable financial assistance, and helping to alleviate the burden of educational expenses. Upon selection as the winner will no doubt contribute to covering my tuition fees, making higher education more attainable, and relieving the financial strain on my academic journey. To the scholarship committee, I bring my ability to overcome the sociocultural challenges embroiled in my communities which ultimately gives me the fierce motivation required to push forward in my academic pursuit in public health.
    A Man Helping Women Helping Women Scholarship
    Being born in a middle-class Brahmin family is a privilege but not for a woman. I was studying in a public school until I was transferred to a private one that my younger brother was attending because he wouldn’t stop crying and needed to be taken care of. In school, not only did teachers not hold boys accountable for how disrespectful they were to girls but teachers themselves yelled at our mistakes and choked whatever little voice was left in us. The ritual during my first menstrual cycle kept me isolated for 15 days in a room with no sunlight - marking the beginning of more restrictions as “ the pride” of a family who could bring shame to the entire family if she breaks any social, gender, or sexuality norm. Sending girls to college was an unworthy investment and a risk to “the pride”. Growing up with this bitter reality, I did not want other girls to experience what I had gone through. Thus, I turned to activities that prioritized empowering young girls. During my first year at the Asian University for Women, I co-led the Basketball Summer Project, where I helped design, prepare, and execute the first women-led basketball camp and tournament for girls. Besides coaching basketball, I tutored the students in their everyday academics. Impressively, my students participated to the fullest in the tournament and passed their terminal exams with flying colors. Then, life took a major twist when a massive earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, 2015. I returned to Nepal after graduation to teach science in one of the most remote communities as a Teach for Nepal Fellow. I mentored girls, who came from disadvantaged backgrounds like myself, to pursue higher education in STEM. One of my students was selected for the Teach for All Student Leaders Advisory Council, while two of my other students demonstrated their prototypes at the first-ever national STEM conference. In addition to this mission, I also wanted to apply my research skills and passion for STEM to help rural communities. With disparities in health access that my family and many others face in rural Nepal, there is accordingly a heavy mental health burden. To study this, I worked at a diagnostic center where I conducted and published studies to understand the impact of COVID-19 on rural communities. Patients told me about their healthcare-induced financial crises, dehumanizing treatment, and severe inequalities in their experiences with hospital administration. Currently, I am a researcher with Transcultural Psychosocial Organization Nepal, where I work with community members through interviews and focus group discussions for the multinational International Study of Discrimination and Stigma Outcomes project to develop and evaluate stigma reduction interventions. A key part of my work is to translate and adapt research tools to fit the linguistic and cultural needs of communities in Nepal. I am recently a graduate student at the University of New Haven (UNH), Connecticut. Through the support of the robust academic environment at UNH, I hope to ultimately create a measurable impact on the health of my communities. My goal is to work on designing and implementing approaches to address healthcare challenges faced by underprivileged communities in the US. With this experience, I hope to understand the inclusive healthcare strategies that work well in the US and leverage the best of Western healthcare strategies and practices to strengthen the inclusive and affordable healthcare system in Nepal, and globally.
    Bold.org x Forever 21 Scholarship + Giveaway
    My Instagram username is bhattarai2609, profile with a maroon-colored outfit.
    WCEJ Thornton Foundation Low-Income Scholarship
    I was born and raised in a Brahmin family considered a privilege in a remote village of Kapilvastu district in western Nepal. However, the social restrictions imposed on a Brahmin girl were unbearable. As per custom, during menstruation, I was not to show my face in the sun or to any males for 15 days. Moreover, I spent my childhood fearful of being married off at an early age. I was fascinated with science and human health since childhood, but no high school nearby offered science programs. My parents didn’t have enough money to send me off to other cities, so I had few choices, thus pursuing literature as my major. However, my determination to pursue science led me abroad, as I could not apply to local universities without a science major in high school. My relentless efforts in seeking out higher education resulted in my acceptance to the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh, as one of 14 out of 2000 applicants from Nepal. There, as an undergraduate student on a full scholarship, I majored in Biology and minored in public health. This marked the most important milestone in pursuing my ultimate goals as a researcher and public health specialist. As I was approaching my graduation at AUW, a massive earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, 2015. I instantly decided to go back to my country and help rebuild communities devastated by the earthquake. For the next two years, I served as a Teach For Nepal member in one of the most affected rural communities. I not only contributed to reshaping the community after an earthquake but also got exposed to issues of people’s severe mental health illnesses. Besides, growing up with the bitter reality of not having enough support to further my education and ending up marrying and discontinuing my education for four long marriage years, I did not want other girls to experience what I had gone through. Thus, I turned to activities that prioritized empowering young girls. This perhaps couldn't have happened without me being empowered through education and without being aware of the dark realities Even so, I could not simply stop after what I consider my greatest achievement–attending university despite the many societal obstacles in place. With my continued commitment to scientific and public health research, I then worked at several research organizations were the culmination of my dedication to learning the scientific method and conducting my independent research has since led to multiple peer-reviewed publications. I have also been accepted to a Masters of Public Health program at the University of New Haven, West Haven where I plan to advance my academic journey further. In essence, I wish to channel my educational experiences into a tangible reality of making healthcare more affordable and accessible to all Nepalese people, as a future public and global health specialist.
    Taylor Swift ‘1989’ Fan Scholarship
    It was months and months of back and forth You're still all over me like a wine-stained dress I can't wear anymore Rain came pouring down when I was drowning That's when I could finally breathe And by morning gone was any trace of you, I think I am finally clean I think I am finally clean Said I think I am finally clean There was nothing left to do When the butterflies turned to dust that covered my whole room So I punched a hole in the roof Let the flood carry away all my pictures of you This is my favorite song from Taylor Swift because this song connects with me so much. At present, I am in a situation where I have been consistently trying my best in every possible way to pursue higher education, but securing the scholarship is the hardest part. But this time, I am able to secure a scholarship even if this scholarship solely is not able to fund my graduate study, I have hope, and the phrase of the song "Rain came pouring down when I was drowning, that's when I could finally breathe" resemble my real situation full with hope. In addition, another phrase "there was nothing left to do When the butterflies turned to dust that covered my whole room So I punched a hole in the roof Let the flood carry away all my pictures of you" This phrase resembles me trying harder to enroll in graduate study even if I am unable to make it the very first time. I have been trying since 2021 to make it possible for my graduate study, but it's hard to make all go right. I feel drained, stressed, and cry often, however, I do not easily stop. Being recently married in a traditional Nepali society where women are expected to make all other members of the house happy while nobody asks or feels what she truly desires, I have been fighting with the gender stereotype and trying to live my dream of higher education and to be a public health expert and serve the global communities regardless of any gender, ethnicity, class, and culture. Just like the song says, it was truly months and months of back and forth. There were harsh and hard times but still, I am fighting to make my higher education dream to be true. I hope in the days to come, I will be entering into the master program at University of New Haven, where I recently accepted into to fulfill all the unfulfilled dream to fly high.
    Career Search Scholarship
    I came from a very remote part of rural Nepal. When my teachers asked about my career aspirations in primary school, I used to answer, “scientist”, without any hesitation. Witnessing the lack of equity in the health care system while growing up also kindled a desire in me to pursue public health research, and contribute to better health service and management in Nepal. Twelve years back when I was in high school, my mom got ill and was admitted to a public hospital for 18 days as we could not afford the high price of a private one. It took more than 38 hours for doctors to arrive at the emergency department. The situation was complex, but fortunately, mother's operation was successful, and she slowly recovered. At that time, I desperately wished that I was empowered with technical knowledge to treat my mother and understand her condition myself, recognizing as well that and many others in the hospital were also in similar challenging situations. Experiencing how healthcare disparities affect the access of the general public to quality and prompt health facilities instilled in me a strong hunger to pursue further studies. Now, I want to use higher education as further empowerment, so that I can become a knowledgeable specialist and to serve as a leader and researcher in my home country and globally. I find myself aligned with the values emphasized in the field of public health that I find particularly empowering: namely those of community, sound science, diversity, social justice, and engagement. With my diverse experiences in both quantitative and qualitative research, as well as cultural ambassadorship and community engagement, I am ready to consolidate my learning and further advance in my academic journey. I believe that the potential career as a public health expert specializing in global health will support me to collaborate internationally as well as nationally to engage in different cultural contexts when I design effective treatments and interventions in my future career. I hope to take part in innovative research and ultimately design effective, evidence-based interventions that create a measurable impact in the health sector in Nepal, particularly to benefit the people in disadvantaged communities In essence, I wish to channel my dream of becoming a public health researcher to help make healthcare more affordable and accessible to Nepalese people regardless of geography, religion, and caste, all of which currently cause significant disparities in healthcare access to people.
    Book Lovers Scholarship
    If I have to suggest everyone read a book, I would suggest them read Sabriya: Damascus Bitter Sweet, a novel written by Ulfat Idilbi, a writer born in Damascus, Syria- a country in the Middle East. The novel portrays the vivid image of the loss of women’s identity and recognition under the social restriction, and religious and cultural norms in the mean wartime of 1920 in a Patriarchal country Syria, Damascus. Societal norms and religious practice is another responsible cause for women's oppression in the novel. The setting of the novel is the Muslim traditional society where women had to wear a veil so that no man could see their faces. Any good or bad is connected with Allah’s will. Bounded by the societal norms and beliefs that girls are only for household, the mother character in the novel put her words “What’s the use of a school leaving certificate…we won’t get an ideal husband at a time that suits us” (54) when Sami, main character of the novel tries to explain the importance of education for girls like Sabriya. Also, when Sabriya’s parents knew that she was in the demonstration with Adil, Sabriya had to lie that some police arrested them so she was late and found Sami in front of the police station, whole family began to suspect her if she has lost her virginity. Thus, they called Umm Fawzi- a local midwife to avoid this fear and to be assured of the truth. What a custom and practice it is when a male spent a night outside, no one dare to ask where he was though he could have been involved in some mischievous act. However, if a girl goes out, she is blamed in the name of breaking social norms, customs, and culture. Is it a mistake to be born as a girl? The book questions the societal norms that are embedded in such a way that women are encouraged to marry and shift to her husband's name remaining as an others without due respect for her own self-interest. Religion and social values are the responsible cause for women's inferiority everyone if understood and provide women a platform, the world would have been better than what was it many years later, and what it is still now in most parts of the world around the globe.
    Kevin R. Mabee Memorial Scholarship
    Two unfortunate events during my upbringing became defining moments: first, my uncle got into a serious accident while crossing the road. After 15 days of hospitalization, my father brought my uncle to our home in Nepal. My uncle continued his treatment in Kathmandu, but full recovery was not possible, and treatment was costly. Then, a few years later when I was in high school, my mom was admitted to a public hospital where it took more than 38 hours for a doctor to arrive at the emergency department. Fortunately, my mother's operation was successful, and she slowly recovered. However, if we had been able to afford a private hospital, this type of delay would likely not have happened. Experiencing how the systems-level disparities in healthcare infrastructure affect access of the general public to healthcare instilled in me a strong desire to study health. Getting admission to the Asian University for Women (AUW), Bangladesh, for my undergraduate study was an important milestone in my life in pursuing a career in health. In the year 2010, I was one of the 14 girls selected among 1200 applicants from Nepal where I studied biology and public health. In my physiology courses, I learned about the biology of nutrition and rehabilitation and connected this to my uncle’s situation, where optimal rehabilitation was impossible, given the limited diet of millet, barley, and rice in rural Nepal. This was the first instance that revealed to me how biological mechanisms are influenced by public health practices. I became determined to educate myself further with a public health Master's Degree. I am a vegetarian. I became vegetarian at age 14. Being Hindu, we have a culture of Durga pooja celebration where as a Brahmin, there is a trend to offer animal to god on the day of Nawaratri, 9th day of Dashain, greatest festival of Hindu. I was scared to go the place nearby my home (only 3 minutes away) where animal was killed in the name of offering to god, but listening to loud cry of animal continously before it took the last breath and then no more cry as it was killed made me really sad about life and death. At one's I feel, human, we are superior to others, but do we have right to kill that innocent animal and feel festive. That day, I refused to eat the meat that was cooked at home. Since then, I have never eaten meat and became vegetarian. Perphaps, what really influnced me to be a vegetarian was the love to the animal that was kept for years at home as family; perhpas I didn't want that animal to sacrify, or I was animal lover, I am really unsure. However, since then, I refused to sacrify animal during festival at home, and my family has agreed on this.
    Elevate Women in Technology Scholarship
    The only one technology that has inspired me is my laptop. I bought my laptop when I started my undergraduate year in 2011. It was the laptop my dad bought for me only because I got accepted into higher education to study at Asian University for Women (AUW), Chittagong, Bangladesh. I felt so lucky and happy to have my laptop as all my professors used to send the assignment, quizzes, and presentation slides online. It wasn't possible to review all those study resources through tiny mobile. The laptop as technology has improved my educational career because it was there with me so that I can open those resources, review, save, and learn. It had made me possible to go through the news, connect with people on social media, open my professional email address as well as use multiple design tools to make my presentation better. Besides, the greatest happiness of having a laptop, especially at times when you are away from home is that you can use your web camera and communicate with your family feeling like you are only a few distances away from home. This gave me a realization of thankfulness to my father who despite sacrificing his dream provided me with the laptop that added so much value to my life to keep me emotionally sound, and mentally in a peaceful state in a time when away from home and without getting an opportunity to meet the family members for years could also have made me restless and mentally broken.
    Seherzada Scholarship
    Two events during my upbringing became defining moments: first, my uncle got into a serious traffic accident in Delhi, India. Despite receiving treatment in Delhi and Kathmandu, full recovery was not possible, and treatment was very costly. Then, a few years later, my mom was admitted to a public hospital where it took more than 38 hours for a doctor to arrive at the emergency department. If we had been able to afford a private hospital, this delay would not have happened. Experiencing how systems-level disparities in healthcare infrastructure affect access to healthcare instilled in me a strong desire to study public health. This led me to the Asian University for Women, where I studied biology and public health. In my physiology courses, I learned about the biology of nutrition and rehabilitation and connected this to my uncle’s situation, where optimal rehabilitation was impossible, given the limited diet of millet, barley, and rice in rural Nepal. This was the first instance that revealed to me how biological mechanisms are influenced by public health practices. I became determined to educate myself further with a public health Master's Degree. However, life took a twist in my final year in university. A massive earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, 2015. Thus, after graduation, I returned to Nepal to serve as a Teach for Nepal Fellow in the remote Sindhupalchowk district where the earthquake had claimed over 9000 lives. I became part of the community's rehabilitation process and encouraged girls, who came from disadvantaged backgrounds like me, to study STEM. I noticed that the lack of healthcare infrastructure was perpetuated by a cycle in rural communities, where future generations did not have enough resources to pursue higher education and work advanced jobs. During my fellowship, my goal was to help break this cycle, so I supported students in their applications for various educational opportunities, even bringing my students to a STEM leadership conference via a day-long trek to Kathmandu. With such disparities that my family and many others face in rural Nepal, there is accordingly a heavy mental health burden. To study this, I worked at a diagnostic center where I conducted and published studies to understand the impact of COVID-19 on rural communities. Patients told me about their financial ruin brought about by extended hospitalizations, dehumanizing treatment from the overworked staff, and severe inequalities and gaps in experiences with hospital administration. Thus, through the Master in public health (MPH) program at the University of New Haven where I am recently accepted, I hope to conduct original capstone research to study the impact of socioeconomic and cultural differences on mental health. I want to investigate the longitudinal effects of external sociocultural factors during upbringing on mental health, as well as the epigenetics involved in the generational impacts of childhood trauma. My ultimate goal is to expand research translationally to initiatives that build community resilience with grassroots organizations. I hope the MPH program will help me to challenge structural factors such as socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, and gender-based sources of inequality. Through the support of the robust MPH program, I hope to ultimately create a measurable impact on the health of my communities by taking part in innovative research and ultimately designing effective, evidence-based interventions that create a measurable impact in the health sector in Nepal. For this, I am trying to apply for an external scholarship as I do not have sufficient funding opportunities.
    I Can Do Anything Scholarship
    A woman who has risen beyond the cultural norms, expectations, and restrictions she endures; despite all odds and shut doors of opportunities, she is now achieving her career goal as a health professional, and a scientific researcher while at the same time being happy with her daughter, another version of herself, and a supportive husband.
    @Carle100 National Scholarship Month Scholarship
    Patrick Stanley Memorial Scholarship
    Being born in a middle-class Brahmin family is a privilege but not for a woman. Much of my education was initially an afterthought; for instance, I transferred schools in order to take care of my younger brother. In school, teachers held boys less accountable for their behavior, while girls often felt stifled and silenced. The ritual during my first menstrual cycle kept me isolated for 15 days in a room with no sunlight–a complex marker of a restricted life where a girl could bring shame to the entire family if she broke any social, gender, or sexual norm. Sending girls to college was an unworthy investment and a risk to “the pride” of a family. However, when I was in high school, my mother was admitted to a public hospital where it took more than 38 hours for a doctor to evaluate her. Experiencing how the systems-level disparities in healthcare infrastructure adversely affect low-income families like mine instilled in me a strong desire to study public health, leading me to the Asian University for Women. However, following my undergraduate degree, life took a turn when a massive earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015. Thus, I returned to serve as a Teach for Nepal Fellow in one of the most remote and rural communities in Nepal. I became part of the community's rehabilitation process and encouraged girls, who came from disadvantaged backgrounds like me, to pursue higher education and careers in science and technology, while I navigated the challenges of healthcare in Nepal’s rural communities. After my fellowship, I came across the rare opportunity to conduct public health research through an internship at the Nepal Fertility Care Center. There, I investigated the specificity and sensitivity of different screening methods for cervical cancer and saw the real-world impact of this work through leading HPV vaccination campaigns in the community. With my continued commitment to research, I then worked at a COVID-19 diagnostic center. The culmination of my efforts led to a publication in the Technium Biochem Med Journal, highlighting a microcosm of public health and its impacts on rural communities in Nepal. Now, I am eager to expand my research scope to initiatives that enhance public health and healthcare capacity at a larger scale and thereby more broadly build community resilience. Currently, I am a researcher at the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal working in mental health and psychosocial counseling. This role has helped me to gain exposure to the current status of women’s mental health issues, barriers, and stigma, as well as insight into characterizing research questions, designing studies, and conducting independent data analysis. In addition, I translated and adapted previously Euro-centric research metrics to fit the linguistic and cultural needs of communities in Nepal. My familiarity with navigating different cultural contexts is an asset that I will use when I design effective treatments and interventions in my career. With my diverse experiences in both quantitative and qualitative research in public health and community engagement, my plan is to consolidate my learning and further advance in my academic journey. I hope to recognize practices that work well in the US context that can be adapted to Nepal’s public healthcare system. With Mount Sinai’s commitment to global health and health equity, I believe I will be able to carry out my goal of becoming a public health researcher to help make healthcare more affordable and accessible to Nepalese people regardless of geography, religion, and caste, all of which currently cause significant disparities in healthcare access.
    Your Dream Music Scholarship
    "Every day is a good day, and you're the reason why I am so blessed" a song by Aaron Cole and Cain is the song with the most important message to me. Having completed my undergraduate study in 2015, from Asian University for Women, Chittagong, Bangladesh, I choose to be back to my home country though I was preparing to apply abroad for higher study. My decision did not emerge all of a sudden, but with the responsibility of giving back to my country. Nepal, my country was devastated by an earthquake in April 2015. Two of my siblings were in the capital city of Kathmandu, living on rent. My brother was completely lost for three days and later found safe in a college space. My sister was asked by the police to look for the dead body when she requested the police to search for my brother who was lost for continue three days. When we met in August 2015 after returning to Nepal to complete my study, she started crying and hugging remembering all those bitter incidents. I wasn't in Nepal when the earthquake took place, however, I felt a deep need to be in Nepal during the rebuilding process. I applied to become a part of the ‘Teach for Nepal program. For two years, I served as a Teach For Nepal member in one of the most affected rural communities. I wanted to help people recover from trauma and support them in the rebuilding process. I worked directly with more than 200 students in two years. Reflecting back on those two years, I feel blessed to read the letter from students; see them representing Nepal in Teach for all global conferences as student leader advisory council (SLAC) members, being a leader in their own communities.
    Lifelong Learning Scholarship
    Learning is a never-ending process. For both professional and personal development, learning plays a very significant role. Learning helps to calm your ego. As the learning is wider, the ego becomes less. There is a saying that the only thing that is constant in life is change. To accept that change, learning is key. Learning can help change the attitude and the way we perceive things. Learning builds our personal experiences Lifelong learning helps develop leadership skills which then translates into fostering lifelong learning in other individuals, by encouraging them to pursue further education. Learning is important for me to grow wiser, brighter, aware, mindful, and grounded. It is through learning, I can find myself in that career path I have dreamed since 7 years, a public health specialist and supporting people by providing public health services regardless of gender, ethnicity, caste, and class. As I was approaching my graduation in 2015, from Asian University for Women (AUW), a massive earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, 2015. I instantly decided to go back to my country and help rebuild communities devastated by the earthquake. For the next two years, I served as a Teach For Nepal member in one of the most affected rural communities. I not only contributed to reshaping the community after an earthquake but also got exposed to issues of people’s several physical and mental health illnesses. If I would not join this educational movement, I would have forever missed this learning about the other part of Nepal, its culture, educational, and community aspects. Similarly, at present, with an aim to understand mental health and stigma in a more in-depth way, I joined a research opportunity at Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) a few months now. Working with a team dedicated to bringing awareness on breaking stigma in society. I find myself getting closer to achieving my dream. Lately, I have been analyzing data, developing questionnaires, writing proposals, and translating tools used in the research study, all aimed at creating better life opportunities for people with mental health illnesses in Nepali villages. Now, I dream to pursue my higher education at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in April 2023 and continue learning about broader aspects of public health. In the long run, I plan to return to Nepal with skills, knowledge, practice, and learning skills from the US. I plan to leverage the best of western health care, both in terms of public health knowledge as well as practices, to help transform rural health care in Nepal. With this, I will also continue pursuing my Ph.D. as well as serve the community, and society, nationally and globally. This way I can maximize my learning.
    Elevate Women in Technology Scholarship
    It was 14 years back when I was a secondary school student, I did not have a separate phone of my own. I borrowed my mother's Nokia mobile. It was cheap, small, and easy to carry. Though it wasn't that sophisticated, it would not break easily despite falling to the ground. As I completed my school leaving certificate (SLC), my fascination with science grew. However, I had to give up my dream to study science as science teaching in high school was far from my hometown. Mother's uterus operation, my elder sister's marriage, and my youngest sister's appendicitis operation were making the situation already ordeal. On top of this, we had to add extra rooms to our house which is the reason we had to put pillars and make the house two storage building. With all this vicious cycle one after, I could not ask my mom if I will study a STEM subject. Instead, I ended up studying humanities. Though I was studying humanities, I could not easily give up my dream to study science. Every day in the morning, I used to help my mom to mob the floor and workshop god. The only thing I used to utter silently was to create magic so that I could study science. It wasn't possible in Nepal as I had already started studying humanities and I could not just leave and go for another stream. After 6 months, god has truly listened to my prayers and I came across a newspaper that wrote about Asian University for Women, the university I completed my graduation. It was my mother's Nokia mobile that made me reach out to the office in Kathmandu and learn detail about the opportunities. I followed the application process: setting up for the exam and the interview. Finally, all hardships and challenges successfully led me to the undergraduate degree. Even today, sometimes I used to think that if my mother did not have that old Nokia mobile with her as a means of communication, I wouldn't have tried to be that courageous to perform phone call, understand the application process, apply, and get selected.
    Female Empowerment Scholarship
    Being born in a middle-class Brahmin family in Nepal is a privilege but not for a woman. I was studying in a public school until I was transferred to a private one that my younger brother was attending because he needed to be taken care of. In school, boys received encouragement from teachers but girls were constantly held down with low expectations. When I completed High School, my relatives suggested that my mom arranges for my marriage. Two of my sisters were already married off, and I was next. Most girls in Nepal are married early, the median age for Nepali women at the first marriage is only 17.5. People believe that educated women of older age find it difficult to get married. In many parts of Nepal, dowry adds a significant financial burden on a daughter's family. I was trying hard to get away from those realities. I was fascinated with science from my childhood but High School nearby didn’t offer science programs. My parents didn’t have enough money to send me off to other cities, so I had to pursue literature as my major. However, my determination to pursue science led me to Asian University For Women (AUW) in Bangladesh. At AUW, as an undergraduate student, on a full scholarship, I was able to major in Biology and minor in public health. After graduation, I returned back to Nepal and decided to serve as a Teach for Nepal (TFN) Fellow by teaching science in a public school, in one of the most remote and rural communities in Nepal. Following my two years teaching commitment with TFN. I started an internship in Kathmandu at a Fertility care center (NFCC) to understand more about human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. Since the internship didn’t pay, I could not continue after a few months. By then I had been married. So, I returned back to my husband’s family’s home, where I now live with my in-laws and husband as is the custom. In Nepal, a newly married daughter-in-law is expected to take care of the house and assume domestic roles. But, in spite of some dissatisfaction from the family, I decided to work. I am currently working as a Junior Research Officer at Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal. Right after my marriage, I had expressed my interest in pursuing a Master's Program but my in-laws shared that they rather prefer that I support my husband in running the family business. My husband's family has been in the hotel and hospitality business for over two decades. The tourism industry, including our family business, has suffered heavy losses. Therefore, to pursue a degree at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, my only options are to secure scholarships and financial aid. With my diverse experiences in both quantitative and qualitative research in public health and community engagement, I am ready to consolidate my learning and further advance in my academic journey. I hope to recognize practices that work well in the US context that can be adapted to Nepal’s public healthcare system. I hope to take part in innovative research and ultimately design effective, evidence-based interventions that create a measurable impact in the health sector in Nepal, particularly to benefit the people in disadvantaged communities. All in all, I am confident that the female empowerment scholarship will further increase my intellectual rigor and propel me in my pursuit of designing an effective, innovative, evidence-based intervention that makes a real and measurable impact in the health sector in Nepal.
    @ESPdaniella's Gap Year Scholarship
    Sikora Drake STEM Scholarship
    Being born in a middle-class Brahmin family is a privilege but not for a woman. I was studying in a public school until I was transferred to a private one that my younger brother was attending because he wouldn’t stop crying and needed to be taken care of. In school, not only did teachers not hold boys accountable for how disrespectful they were to girls but teachers themselves yelled at our mistakes and choked whatever little voice was left in us. The ritual during my first menstrual cycle kept me isolated for 15 days in a room with no sunlight - marking the beginning of more restrictions as “ the pride” of a family who could bring shame to the entire family if she breaks any social, gender, or sexuality norm. Sending girls to college was an unworthy investment and a risk to “the pride”. Despite growing up in such culture, I had a supportive parents that made it possible to be able to work hard and be able to get accepted in the Asian University for Women (AUW) where I majored in biological science and minored in public health. Following my undergraduate degree, I was planning on pursuing research on the association between the accumulation of abnormally folded amyloid beta protein and Alzheimer’s disease, which I had begun at college, but life took a turn when a massive earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015. Thus, after graduation, I returned to Nepal to serve as a Teach for Nepal Fellow in one of the most remote and rural communities in Nepal. I went to serve as a science teacher in Sindhupalchowk district where the earthquake had claimed over 9000 lives. I wanted to be part of the community's rehabilitation process and encourage girls, who came from disadvantaged backgrounds like me, to pursue higher education and careers in science and technology, while I navigated the challenges of healthcare in Nepal’s rural communities. Currently, I am a researcher at the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal working in mental health and psychosocial counseling. This role has helped me to gain exposure to the current status of women’s mental health issues, barriers, and stigma, as well as insight into characterizing research questions, designing studies, and conducting independent data analysis. My familiarity with navigating different cultural contexts is an asset that I will strive to engage in when I design effective treatments and interventions in my future career. The MPH program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai will enrich my practical knowledge through an innovative approach to learning, with ample opportunities to focus on research in quality improvement and improving equity of access to care in under-resourced rural communities such as my own in Nepal. Likewise, I find myself aligned with the institutional values of community, sound science, diversity, social justice, and engagement. With my diverse experiences in both quantitative and qualitative research in public health and community engagement, I am ready to consolidate my learning and further advance in my academic journey. To Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, I bring the shades of rich and dark realities of a country washed down by the third world tag; my personal lived experiences that sound like they were from “once upon a time”. In essence, I wish to channel my dream of becoming a public health researcher to help make healthcare more affordable and accessible to Nepalese people regardless of geography, religion, and caste, all of which currently cause significant disparities in healthcare access to people.
    Lost Dreams Awaken Scholarship
    My name is Kalpana Bhattarai. It's been almost a year, I left everything I used to love. I used to smile and laugh a bit more, gather with friends, cook food for the family, used to make TikTok, and so on. However, it has been almost a year, and little things that used to make me laugh are no longer in practice. I am found with anxiety that started after two years of being married. I wanted to study while my in-laws had very different expectations from me. I could not meet expectations, instead could fly away for my higher education. this clash between my inner feeling and my family's expectation created a vicious circle of irritation, breathing difficulties, anger, and frustration within me. Despite going through anxiety, a mental health illness, during work at the office, I used to feel happy and joyful. However, somewhere inside, I used to feel that incomplete without my graduate degree. To me, recovery is when I am able to pursue my higher educational dream and able to recognize practices that work well in the US context that can be adapted to Nepal’s healthcare system. I will start recovering myself when I am able to bring the possibilities of this country, the rich culture, and heritage, and the achievement of the Nepali people, which are often washed down by - the third world tag. And having lived through it all, I bring these lived experiences that sound like “once upon a time”.
    Share Your Poetry Scholarship
    My Mother I do not know when and how my life began But you are always by my side in every dream that I have I could imagine the lullabies you sang to soothe me How quickly you notice my discomfort in a short glimpse Nine months of gestational ups and downs you could bear A little cold I caught in my tender age, how much you would fear Ama! I am nostalgic, recalling the moment I was in grade eight “Work hard!” you say, “do not blame the fate.” Your art in cooking, I miss that unique taste Many times I tried to imitate, but never did it turn out to be the same With all those moments fresh in mind, I miss you utmost sometimes A sudden magic I feel when you call me right then The first word Mom I spell and then I pause for a while With a big smile I pretend not to let you ask if I was crying Is something wrong you ask? You sense my uneasiness so easily Mother you are inimitable, I can’t describe here with Cutting you short there, I ask, how are you mom? With a huge smile you say, “I am fine” Ready to sacrifice even your precious time As long as you see the happiness of mine In every moment, you are my strength With you by my sides, moment of bliss turn longer in length You are my muse, my smile with brightened rays “Stand for your goal!” this is how you encourage Being a distance away, I wish to dream In that warm lap, I can cradle again being little me Nothing can compare to you, your love and care Mother, you are my bless in joyful song I sing Mother, you are my bliss in every joyful song I sing
    Learner Math Lover Scholarship
    When I was in high school, I used to understand math as a difficult calculation. My 12 years of schooling went in the traditional style of recitation and copying without logic. Without understanding the fun part of math, I used to hate it and pray not to touch the bulky book. However, the Teach for Nepal fellowship was a turning point in my life that gave me a broad picture: everything we learn can be found in nature. I then started to wonder more and try associating things I learned with nature. There is a quote that says, when you are a student, you learned half, but when you are a teacher, you understand full. My love for math grew as I understood the trajectory of life and its association with math; that association we could also see in nature: a different side of angle, degree, and curve are all beautiful portraits of how life is and that is all we could associate with nature i.e hills, mountains, horizon. It is very later that I am fascinated with math though I might take a longer time to solve the Geometrical problem. Sizes, shapes, positions, angles, and dimensions of things are all exciting for me as I see different geometrical shapes and patterns in leaves, flowers, stems, roots, bark, and the list goes on. Likewise, these days I started looking at the formation of art as a result of the use of geometrical forms like circles, triangles, squares, mandalas, or octagons. Moreover, the contents of paintings or sculptures are largely affected by the choice and shape of frames, those shapes are all in nature as well as in math. I am now in love with math because math gives an overall picture of nature, its calmness, beauty, and seasonal challenges. With this, math also gives an overview of how exactly our life is, obstacles, challenges, turning points, rewards, and pleasant moments. Hence, I love math for its logical interpretation.
    Mental Health Importance Scholarship
    Sound mental health means feeling peace from deep inside and performing the daily work with a complete focus. Since childhood, I used to be a person who is jolly and finds peace and happiness in what I do. Also, early morning 10 minutes of meditation used to be my source of inspiration for a whole long day. I hadn't ever thought that no external force could destroy my inner peace until I developed anxiety, a mental health problem in early 2022. It was the hardest time I have ever lived in anger, frustration, crying all of a sudden, feeling very low, and increased heartbeat due to high stressful situation. That was also the moment I had suicidal thoughts frequently, occupied with so much negativity. I used to think a lot, isolate myself from others, and my relationship with my husband and the in-law's family went deteriorating. I am forever thankful to my husband who though did not understand my odd behavior initially, tried his best to support me in many ways. Now, I am in the recovery stage. Coming forth, I feel that mental health is key to feeling confident, to boosting our immune system, and falling less frequently sick. Our physical health also has a direct relationship with mental health. Having high stress, and anxiety also means weak body, muscles fatigue, breathing difficulties, high heart rate, back ache, and problems with digestion. As these symptoms progress frequently for more than a month, this ultimately disturbs the overall performance of an individual, be it in office, in the family, with friends, or with others in the surrounding. I would say mental health is our biggest asset as it encompasses the well-being of people: the ability to be happy, productive, and well-adjusted. Practicing gratitude is one of the major steps I follow to maintain good mental health. Secondly, breathing exercises, meditation, light yoga, and walking make me more relaxed. Thirdly, being in nature makes me live in the present moment, so during weekend, or sometimes during weekdays in the evening, I go near the lake. Fourthly, I sometimes practice emotional healing techniques and let things go out of my head. Lastly, when my heart feels heavily occupied, I wanted to share it either with my younger sister or with my close friend. That way, I feel light and those things that are distracting me for weeks become reasons to worry less. All these steps have helped me to feel better relaxed and focused.
    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    I used to think of myself as a meditative queen and that no external force could distract my inner peace. However, after marriage, a great transition occurred as I shifted from my own home, and moved into the in-laws home. I felt a great cultural shocks, the differences I find myself from being a daughter to daughter-in-law were all stressful situations I tried co-ping up with. The place (hometown) where I stayed with my in-laws is the finest one, however there was something different that was taking away from peace, my higher education that I wanted to pursue. Now, its been seven long years education gap, I am still equally interested to pursue master. I did not have a job for a few months of marriage, so no saving for further study paying higher fund. I used to cry almost all the time in one corner of the room. Realizing that crying was not the solution at all, I started convincing myself to think positive and be kind to myself, so that better days will come soon. There was a situation I had suicidal thoughts frequently. Working myself in a mental health organization, I was no less in need of counseling. I felt very low self-esteem. Slowly, I started showing anger, and hatred toward them when I see them in front. It wasn't the behavior I performed knowingly, but because I had anxiety, I used to get irritated. My family, even my husband used to think that I became selfish, thinking of my future and only being sad, not living in the present neither thinking of any other member of the family. To some extend, they might be true, however, not being able to understand what I have been going through, nor my ability to explain to anyone to make them understanding all that was happened to me was a biggest challenges. Now, I am in a recovery stage. Having the deteriorating mental health in one side while expectation on others had made it even worst. In Nepalese culture, women after marriage are supposed to look after their in-laws. It is very rare for women to continue their studies after married and pursue their dream which takes huge courage and a bold step to do so. I am still waiting for that golden day to be a part of higher education program and pursuing my dream to be a public health expert. with myself stepping from this stressful situation, I now want to support women to live with a sound mental health. All in all, I am now interested to develop skills in identifying the global healing needs of the community, characterizing issues in the system’s pipeline and public health infrastructure, and thereby designing appropriate community-centered interventions.
    Science Appreciation Scholarship
    When my teacher used to ask about my career aspirations in primary school, I used to answer, “scientist”, without any hesitation, however witnessing the lack of equity in the health care system while growing up kindled a desire in me to pursue public health research, and contribute to better health service and management in Nepal. I am continuing to meet this zeal and urge by gaining practical knowledge on the spectrum of healthcare problems that underserved communities face such that I can understand how to provide continuous comprehensive care to community people and their families. During this journey, I have confronted frequent hardships in life that have created a situation in which all hope seems lost, yet being resilient to failure has made me move forward and instilled a hunger in me for a more interdisciplinary research degree besides the current skills, and experiences. I am currently in Nepal involved in a research project at Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal, working in mental health, a unique and emerging stream of science. At TPO, I wrote a proposal and secured approval from Nepal Health Research Council to conduct the International Study of Discrimination and Stigma Outcomes (Indigo) project. For the research, I translated different metrics and tools as well as worked on the 5-level EQ-5D research framework to validate its use in Nepal. My research in this framework recently led to a publication in the Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences journal. My familiarity with navigating different cultural contexts is an asset that I will strive to engage in when I design effective treatments and interventions in my future career. While my journey to TPO gets continue, I also applied to fulfill my dream to study further, and got accepted into the Icahn school of medicine in a graduate program in public health, a STEM career for fall 2022 intake. However, because I do not have enough funding for fall intake, I defer my application for spring I, 2023, and applying for a scholarship with the hope that I can pursue my graduate study after all these seven years of gap year. I believe that science is an approach of successive knowledge, and interpretation of the truth. It is important to enrich the practical knowledge in people of community through an innovative approach to learning, ample opportunities to focus on research in quality improvement, and improving equity of access to care in under-resourced rural communities such as my own in Nepal. All in all, I find science aligned with the values of community, logical interpretation of truth, diversity, social justice, and engagement.
    American Dream Scholarship
    I am from a developing country, Nepal, where there is limited opportunity for an average student like me despite working hard. Also, being born in the remotest part of rural Nepal, and the third girl child of my parents means having greater responsibilities for my parents to educate though I need to be sent to someone else home as a cultural practice of marriage. At home where I am ultimately married off, I had to invest my time making in-laws happy and serving them while no one rarely asks or feels that I also have a dream, a goal. For me, the American dream is such a dream where every girl instead of marrying off at an early age is encouraged to be who they are, fulfill their dream, though do not have enough funding, get supportive hands when worked hard, and smart. It is that long-pending dream of pursuing higher education with enriching technical skills, knowledge, and practices, after 7 long years of study gap, but with equal enthusiasm, curiosity, dedication, and determination. All of these then will push me towards another achievement in Ph.D. and ultimately as an epidemiologist working in a rural community hospital in the US to gain practical knowledge on the spectrum of healthcare problems that underserved communities face such that I can understand how to provide continuous comprehensive care to patients and their families. Specifically, the American dream is a dream of hope to recognize practices that work well in the US context that can be adapted to Nepal’s healthcare system.
    Learner Statistics Scholarship
    I'm pursuing public health as a STEM major at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health, this 45-credit, two-year competency-based program requires coursework in one of eight specialty tracks as well as a 150-hour Applied Practice Experience and a Culminating Experience (e.g. master's thesis, manuscript, or capstone project). As a future MPH student, I have an opportunity to specialize in the Epidemiology area as one of eight areas: General Public Health, Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Environmental Health Sciences, Global Health, Outcomes Research, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Health Care Management. I chose public health and plan to be specialized in epidemiology to learn to interpret the results of statistical analyses found in public health studies, conduct epidemiological and biostatistical data analysis, and identify the appropriate methods of study design, analysis, and data synthesis to address population based health problems. In addition, I want to recognize the assumptions and limitations of common statistical methods and learn to choose appropriate approaches for analysis. Having a long tradition of leadership in pioneering research, creative teaching protocols, and effective clinical therapies, the university (Icahn school of medicine), and the public health program I chose can no doubt provides a diverse environment that can be an asset as science can be approached from different perspectives. Choosing public health as my graduate study and being specialized in epidemiology, I plan to work in a rural community to gain practical knowledge on the spectrum of healthcare problems that underserved communities face such that I can understand how to provide continuous comprehensive care to community people and their families. Specifically, I hope to recognize practices that work well in the global context that can be adapted to Nepal’s healthcare system. All in all, I plan to return to Nepal with skills, knowledge, and practice from the US. I plan to leverage the best of western health care, both in terms of public health knowledge as well as practices, to help transform both urban and rural health care in Nepal.
    Learner Higher Education Scholarship
    I remember my primary school days when my teacher asked what I would like to become in the future. I used to answer “Brain’s Doctor” without any hesitation. Despite that, I was bound to pursue literature as my major in high school as we didn’t have any science teaching high schools nearby. I grew up and we could not afford to move to the cities. Later, without a science major in high school, I could not enroll in a science faculty in Nepal. It meant that I would have to study abroad or not study at all. Getting admission to the Asian University for Women (AUW) in Chittagong, Bangladesh, for my Bachelor of Science in Biological Science with a minor in Public Health was a first step and an essential milestone to achieving my dream. As I was approaching my graduation at AUW, a massive earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, 2015. I instantly decided to go back to my country and help rebuild communities devastated by the earthquake. For the next two years, I served as a Teach For Nepal corp member in one of the most affected rural communities. I not only contributed to reshaping the community after an earthquake but also got exposed to issues of peoples’ severe mental health illnesses. That is when I decided to pursue my higher education in public health (specialized in epidemiology) and preventive research and, drive change to a larger extent in the country. My interest in public health and scientific research led me to work as a researcher for 6 months at a life care diagnostic and research center, in Nepal, under the supervision of Dr. Amar Nagila, the officiating dean of the faculty of Health Sciences at Pokhara University. From the very preliminary stage of research, I was involved in writing proposals, submitting for local ethical approval, preparing consent forms, designing interview questionnaires, performing phone interviews, and providing counseling on a need basis. During this period we were able to do some epidemiological studies on the effect of obesity and blood types on the severity of symptoms of Covid-19 patients in the Kaski District of Nepal. This work was eventually communicated in two research articles. It was an overwhelming experience for me to learn and observe closely the real scenario of public health. The physical symptoms of covid-19 like body ache, fever, breathing difficulties, etc one side, while the extension of quarantine and lack of enough beds with ventilators, lack of knowledge and awareness to cope with COVID-19 on others have made the situation even worse. The absence of appropriate counseling and infodemics was vivid in the community. Additionally, it was arduous when the pathogen and transmission mode was unknown. The stigma among those affected by Covid-19 has created huge mental stress among the infected patients along with families, making the scenario even more severe. To understand mental health and stigma in a more in-depth way, I joined a research opportunity at Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO). At present, I am working with a team dedicated to bringing awareness to breaking stigma in society. Also, lately, I have been analyzing data, developing questionnaires, writing proposals, and translating tools used in the research study, all aimed at creating better life opportunities for people with mental health illnesses in Nepali villages. To further my dream to gain or expand knowledge in the field of epidemiology of disease and the control of sudden outbreaks and to work at the execution level, I felt a need to gain academic specialization which is only possible through higher education.
    Bold Science Matters Scholarship
    On a quiet Saturday afternoon, when I was about 10 or 12, a door-to-door bookseller came outside my house with a book, “Bigyanko Sansar, & Baigyanik chamatkar”, or “ the world of science and scientific wonders”. There I saw: the process of making a water heater. I was intrigued by the possibilities. While my parents were out working in the field, I was home alone collecting new blades, matchsticks, and wires. That day, I followed the process outlined in that book and was able to make a heater and boil a pot of water. This was my favorite discovery as my fascination with science only grew after that. Again, at age 18, my mom got ill and was admitted to a public hospital for 20 days. We could not afford the high price of a private one. It took more than 38 hours for doctors to arrive at the emergency department where my mom was taken into. I wanted to innovate something new that could help my mother heal (I did not know what really that is as I was a teenager). The situation went complex, but fortunately, mother's operation was successful and she slowly recovered. I was too worried for my mom as I sat there with tons of questions for the hospital staff for their negligence. Experiencing how the disparity in the health care system affects the access of the general public to quality and prompt health facilities instilled in me a strong desire to pursue public health research, and contribute to better health service and management in Nepal. My childhood dream to be a scientist is still awakened deep inside, propelling me in my pursuit of designing an effective, innovative, evidence-based intervention that makes a real and measurable impact on the health sector in Nepal.
    Lost Dreams Awaken Scholarship
    Two unfortunate events during my upbringing became defining moments: first, my uncle got into a serious accident while crossing the road. After 15 days of hospitalization, my father brought my uncle to our home in Nepal. My uncle continued his treatment in Kathmandu, but full recovery was not possible, and treatment was costly. Then, a few years later when I was in high school, my mom was admitted to a public hospital where it took more than 38 hours for a doctor to arrive at the emergency department. Fortunately, my mother's operation was successful, and she slowly recovered. However, if we had been able to afford a private hospital, this type of delay would likely not have happened. Experiencing how the systems-level disparities in healthcare infrastructure affect access of the general public to healthcare instilled in me a strong desire to study public health. Life took a twist when I was in my final year at AUW. A massive earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, 2015. Thus, after graduation, I returned to Nepal to serve as a Teach for Nepal Fellow in one of the most remote and rural communities in Nepal. I wanted to be part of the community's rehabilitation process and encourage girls, who came from disadvantaged backgrounds like me, to pursue higher education and careers in science and technology. For me, recovery is when I am able to serve people with the skills, knowledge, and practices I upskill with as a public health expert.