Growing up in Kathmandu, Nepal, Shrijana Malakar – known by her friends as “Shree” – dreamed of becoming a doctor because she loved the idea of helping others. She discovered Southern Arkansas University with the help of two elder sisters who already lived in the United States.
“My family definitely encouraged and even influenced my decision to come to SAU,” she said. “They wanted me to have a good education and to be independent.”
Malakar found that and more in the peaceful environment surrounding the small university in the piney hills of south Arkansas.
Earning her bachelor’s degree in finance in 2009, Malakar knew she wanted to continue pursuing her education.
“By the time I finished my undergraduate degree, SAU and Magnolia had grown on me,” she said.
While working with the Southwest Planning and Development District, Malakar wrote several successful grants for community organizations and projects. One of those included a bus for a local health care facility. The experience fanned a desire to continue working in public service. While researching graduate schools, Malakar consistently heard positive comments about SAU’s Masters in Public Administration program. Enrollment in the School of Graduate Studies was easy, according to Malakar.
“Since I am an international student, my application had to go through the Office of International Student Services, who have been helpful throughout my studies,” she said. “The Office of Graduate Studies has been a great help. They were always there to answer my questions and to help me in my quest for a higher education. I really admire them, and working with them has been a great experience.”
While working on her M.P.A., she works in the School of Graduate Studies as a graduate assistant. She enjoys her job and expresses admiration for those in the department.
Even though her educational path did not lead her to becoming a doctor, Malakar encourages others to follow their dreams. She still gets to help people and the community. She aspires to use her skills and education working with non-profit organizations.
“I believe my education at SAU has made me a better and more refined person,” she said. “The education I am receiving here has become a part of my personality and character. It was a great choice for me.”
She anticipates graduating with her master’s degree in May 2013.
“I believe education is the key to success and will be with us throughout our lives. That is what my family has taught me,” said Malakar. “One day, I would like to teach the same thing to my kids. I encourage everyone to realize the importance of education. It is worth every effort. This has been a great experience.”