Growing up in a refugee camp in Nepal, Nirmala Ghimirey never imagined she would end up at Kent State University working towards a degree in Biology. She came to the United States when she was fourteen and met her mentors, Dr. and Mrs. Kuhn, who told her about Kent State and how great their Biology program was. They also helped her transition to everyday life here in America; even simple luxuries like electricity and running water were new to Nirmala. Her mentors showed her the importance of helping others by assisting her, as well as other refugees. Mrs. Kuhn even set up a way for refugees to make money by providing them with yarn and looms to create crafts to sell. Nirmala also likes to create and enjoys embroidering in her spare time.
Going to high school was difficult for Nirmala as she had trouble understanding English, even though she had studied it in Nepal. When she took chemistry in high school, she didn’t think she would ever love the subject but, when she took Dr. Leslie’s class here at Kent, she gained a whole new perspective. She found that she loved chemistry and now understood it more, though biology was still her favorite of the two. Her great professors gave her the confidence she needed to do well in these classes, and she now is a tutor for both biology and chemistry. This isn’t the only thing she has gotten involved in on campus though. She has received several scholarships, including one from STEM. Nirmala is thankful that Dr. Frazier gave the opportunity to work in her lab as well, where Nirmala is currently working on her honors thesis. She is studying leukemia cells and hopes to possibly continue her study when she is in medical school.
Gail Frazier, who nominated Nirmala, talks more about her accomplishments saying, “Nirmala is a member of the Honors College and has twice presented her research for the Undergraduate Research Symposium (last year hers was awarded top biology poster). She also applied for a competitive research internship at the Moffitt Cancer Research Center in Tampa (affiliated with MD Anderson Cancer Center) and was awarded a funded 10 week internship in the summer of 2014. She prepared and presented her research findings in melanoma for students and staff at MCRC. Over the summer she accomplished more than some graduate students do in a year. On her return to KSU she gave a presentation on her work, and I was very impressed with the high level of understanding she displayed. In her personal life Nirmala demonstrates leadership as a volunteer for her refugee community in Akron. She promotes the importance of education to high school refugee students to ensure that they finish high school and encourages them to go on to college, which can be seen at the website she developed http://www.bcakron.org/lfc/index.html.”
What motivates Nirmala to work hard is the knowledge of the importance of getting an education, as well as her love of learning. Her mentors motivate and inspire her to do well and pursue her dreams. In ten years, Nirmala hopes to have earned her MDPHD and be working with patients and doing lab research. She wants to take advantage of whatever opportunities she can get when the time comes. What she will remember most about Kent State are the friends she’s made and the amazing professors. Her advice to students is to “work hard and strive for success,” just like she has done.