We're excited to share another Scholarship Success Spotlight! In case you haven't read these yet, we will be regularly sharing stories from our talented scholarship recipients and how they are using their funds in the STEM fields.
Our January spotlight is on Soyasha Pandey, 4th quarter 2018 scholarship recipient from a small Himalayan country, Nepal, the existence of which most people are unaware of. Despite the limited opportunities her small country had to offer, she had aspirations bigger than that could be fulfilled there. Hence, Soyasha decided to travel to the other side of the planet to further her education in the field of Aerospace Engineering. Here's her story:
Why I Value STEM Education
I came across the acronym “STEM” on my first day in an American school when I was told of the SMCC STEMS Club (the extra ‘S’ for ‘sustainability). Nearly a year and a half ago was the first time I was introduced to the broad concept of this all-encompassing term and today I write this as the Vice President of the SMCC STEMS Club and an advocate for the STEM fields. The knowledge I have gained by being a part of the field and through mentors and role models has convinced me that the future of humankind relies on the advancement of the STEM field and hence, it is important to inspire the upcoming generations towards it.
My Current Work and Passion
Since early childhood, I have looked at the stars in wonderment, an act that not just became an impulsive habit but has now shaped my career choice. As my curiosities were answered, new questions emerged, creating a cycle of never-ending questions and mysteries, a cycle that is indeed cruel but fascinating enough for physicists and scientists to have devoted their lives towards, and I have become but one more victim of it.
Since I am currently pursuing my Associates in Science, my primary focus has been on sustainability and the present critical need of its implementation in every field imaginable. Through the mentors of the club and field trip to places like the Desert Botanical Garden, San Xavier Mine and Biosphere 2, I have been able to gain valuable knowledge in previously unexplored subjects, the basis of which I have used as motivation in my projects. Through the club I have been working in the school botanical garden for the past year, being involved in projects that not only serve sustainability but also reflect my love for space. The revived botanical garden that was once covered with runaway aloe and dead cacti now serves as an example of sustainable development while displaying the passions of the members involved in the project.
With access to the engineering lab, I decided to use the new laser etching equipment to build planet plaques that have been placed along the garden pathway proportional to their actual distance in the solar system. With smaller projects completed, we have now been awarded funding to further promote the use of green energy by building a shade structure that facilitates solar-powered phone and laptop charging to the students as well a solar powered weather station, a project that is still in its initial stage but, no doubt, a big achievement in sustainability.
Joining South Mountain Community College has introduced my timid self to new possibilities and a wide range of knowledge. Upon meeting fellow space lovers, students in the STEM fields and role models like Dr. Sian Proctor, I realized how much I still needed to learn and how educational a social setting like a club can be. Being a part, and now the Vice President, of the STEMS Club has been significant in introducing me to geology and sustainability, fields that I have now come to know are crucial space exploration and discovery.
In the years that follow and upon transfer to Arizona State University, I hope to be able to use the knowledge I have gained and be able to implement it fields of astronautical importance. I hope to be working in labs studying the terrain of different planets and engineering crafts to study them, I imagine myself being able to work and contribute in the next interstellar breakthrough, but most importantly, I hope to be able to answer my own curiosities about the cosmos that I have had since I realized that the canvas of the night sky holds more than just the stars and moon.
What This Scholarship Means To Me and How I Plan To Use the Funds
It is with much pride that I say I am one of the recipients of the 4th quarter scholarship of 2018. Since I have been independent upon my arrival to the US in 2017, the funding provided by G.E.M. Environmental is of tremendous help. The funds will go towards paying for my tuition and hence I will be able to focus on my education and invest time in projects that I believe will enrich my practical knowledge in order to become a competent engineer.
I literally traveled to the other side of the planet to chase a dream that some might even call too good to be true. The aid provided by GEM Environmental is not just financial but is a vote of trust which I am grateful for.
A Few Other Highlights I'd Like To Share
This year I was able to see one of my idols in person. After having watched him for years through screens motivating me further towards the field of astronomy, hearing Neil deGrasse Tyson in person talk about the endless possibilities the cosmos holds evoked emotions in me that led to an ultimate realization; what I am pursuing is more than just a degree, it is my calling.
This is fantastic! We are so pleased that G.E.M. Environmental was able to assist you in your educational endeavors and we look forward to hearing more about your progress in the coming years!
Are you a STEM major? Consider applying for one of our scholarships! Visit our Scholarship page to learn more about eligibility and apply online.