Back home in Nepal, energy is a big issue. That really drove me to think about a career in electrical engineering, because I could do something about the problem.
"I was born and raised in Nepal and did most of my schooling there, but for my final years of high school I got a scholarship to study at an international baccalaureate school in the UK. Several students there had come to Bucknell before me and told me about the amazing opportunities here. It was the choice for me from the get-go.
"What drew me to Bucknell was the low student-faculty ratio and the small number of students. I felt that I could form good relationships with my fellow students as well as with the faculty - which came true. I've been doing amazing research with Professor Philip Asare since my first year, and I've done several other programs since that have really reinforced my initial impressions.
"Philip and our team are developing a proof-of-concept platform for an automated blood transfusion system for operating rooms. Before coming to Bucknell, I never imagined I would do something like that - in high school, I didn't even study biology. I've gotten to go into Geisinger hospital in Danville and interact with the doctors and anesthesiologists. It's really interesting to learn from them how the things we do are going to change real-life situations, especially in the operating theatre, where it's literally a matter of life and death.
"It was shortly before I came to Bucknell that the April 25 earthquake hit Nepal. It was terrifying to see all that you had known in your childhood just decimated. The great sorrow that surrounded the country is something that will live with me forever, but afterward all the people banded together and were really dedicated to rebuilding. I came to Bucknell with the same idea of doing something that would contribute to that rebuilding process.
"Some other students from Nepal and I applied for a Projects for Peace grant for a project involving micro-hydropower. We chose Funchok in Gorkha, a really rural part of Nepal where a hydropower system was severely damaged during the earthquake. In preparing our proposal, I actually went back to Nepal and visited the area to learn how people's lives would be changed if the system was repaired. We were able to use the grant to rebuild it, and now things are much better for the residents.
"After graduating, I want to gain more practical experience and then return to my country to contribute both through technological advances and societal changes. I want to do something with my experience that can help develop my country and in the future, the world."
Dikendra is from Mugu, Nepal.
Posted June 2018